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Updated 3/26/21

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? Submit it to COVIDquestions@hse.k12.in.us.

When we began our school year, we described the reopening of school in terms of progressive phases. That term is not descriptive of our process now, so you will see us refer to strategies. One strategy is virtual-only, another hybrid, and another in-person. In some cases, there may be more than one strategy taking place simultaneously.


What metrics are being used to determine when HSE Schools moves into the next phase?
HSE Schools will rely on key data provided by the HSE Department of Staff and Student Services, the Fishers Health Department, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Governor’s office before adjusting strategies.

  • Average daily student attendance

  • Average daily staff attendance

  • Adequate substitute teaching coverage

To progress from phase-to-phase, HSE Schools will consider the mitigation strategies provided in the City of Fishers Risk Rating System.

How did you determine the metrics and mitigation guidelines?
The operational metrics for HSE Schools is based on local health data provided by the Fishers Health Department, including daily positive COVID-19 test results and weekly average positive cases. We will also adhere to the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and the Governor’s Office.
What if positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise? Will the Operations Plan change?
The HSE Operations Plan is fluid and reviewed frequently. The purpose of this plan is, first and foremost, to protect the health and wellbeing of our students and staff, while minimizing the likelihood of COVID-19 exposure and maximizing in-person learning opportunities. If the spread of COVID-19 is found to be in the schools, on the increase in cases for students and staff is significant enough, it is likely for the plan to change to protect students and staff.

When we return to school, will students and staff be required to wear a face covering at school?
All students and staff will be required to wear a face covering. This includes:
  • On the bus
  • Entering and exiting school buildings
  • In the health clinic
  • During passing periods
  • In the restrooms
  • Please see the following sections for more specific guidance for Preschool and Exceptional Learners.  
HSE Schools is revising its face covering protocols to reflect new guidance from the CDC, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Fishers Health Department, which includes:
  • Masks with exhalation valves or vents should not be worn as they allow virus particles to escape.
  • Gaiters should be reconsidered as your child’s primary face covering. According to the CDC, the effectiveness is unknown at this time and is still being evaluated.
  • Face shields should be reconsidered as your child’s primary face covering. According to the CDC, the effectiveness is unknown at this time and is still being evaluated.
  • A face shield may be worn situationally, if:
    • Due to specific reasons, healthcare provider recommends a face shield is a better alternative for the individual.
    • During instructional time when staff or students need to see mouth movements. The face shield should be replaced with a mask when the need concludes. 
What is the consequence if a student refuses to wear a face covering? How will teachers manage enforcing the student face covering policy?
The face covering requirement for on-site learning will be treated like part of the dress code. Schools will have masks available to provide to students who need them. If a student is in violation or refuses to wear a mask without an approved accommodation, their families will be asked to consider a virtual instruction for their child.
Are there guidelines for students who due to health needs or their disability will not be able to wear a mask?
In these cases, parents should talk with their healthcare provider about whether returning to school in-person is medically appropriate. Face shields would also be an option in such instances.
What type of cleaning regimen will be used to disinfect and sanitize classrooms, facilities and playgrounds?
HSE Schools has enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures in all buildings. Custodial crews will focus on “high touch” points in common areas throughout the school day where bacteria or viruses are most likely to be transmitted, which include but not limited to:
·      Desks, chairs, tables
·      Door handles and push plates
·      Stair rails
·      Water bottle refilling stations
Electrostatic disinfectants are used in buildings as needed for intense after-hours cleaning of hallway furniture and playground equipment.

What provisions have you made to keep teachers and other staff members safe?
It is imperative for staff to follow CDC recommendations that include, coming to work each day healthy, wearing a mask/face covering, adhering to social distancing, and proper hand washing/sanitizing. In addition to enhanced cleaning, more than 300 plexiglass barriers have been installed throughout the buildings to provide another layer of protection for those working and reflects the best guidance regarding healthy interactions. Some of the barriers have been strategically placed in the following areas: front offices, guidance offices, on the desks of school registrars and treasures, bookstores, cashier stations in the cafeterias, fan and concession stands.
Are face shields an acceptable form of PPE as an alternative to face masks for students or staff?
The best protection is a face covering that fits tightly over your nose and mouth. 
A face shield may be worn situationally, if:
  • During instructional time when staff or students need to see mouth movements. The face shield should be replaced with a mask when the need concludes. 
  • Due to specific reasons, healthcare provider recommends a face shield is a better alternative for the individual.  
What is the school nurse’s role during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
The school nurse’s roles are to educate students and staff about COVID when they return to the school building, to be the first line of screening for students who may be exhibiting symptoms of COVID, and to interface with local public health personnel when schools have positive cases. The school nurse will assist in implementing guidance provided by the state department of health on when ill students, students who test positive, and students who are a close contact of COVID-19 patients can return to school.


Are school water fountains available, or do students need to provide a water bottle each day?
All water fountains are turned off in the buildings. Water bottle filling stations are available to provide students and staff with access to water throughout the day.
Is hand sanitizer available and/or provided to students and staff?
In addition to hand sanitizer being available to students and staff in classrooms, all buildings have been equipped with free-standing hand sanitizer stations,


Will HSE require families to quarantine if they travel for Spring Break?
If you plan to travel outside the United States, the CDC offers recommendations for a safe return to the U.S. and school:

  • Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel.
  • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
  • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.​​ (10 days isolation from start of symptoms or test date, whichever occurs first).
  • If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.​
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
Here's the link to the travel restrictions and recommendations: Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States | CDC

Are parents and/or visitors allowed in school buildings? 
Access for parents and/or visitors is limited to the main office areas in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The following school visitor/volunteer activity is suspended until further notice: 
  • Lunch Visitors 
  • Classroom Volunteers 
  • ​Oasis Tutors 
Buildings will designate points of entry/ exit for the following: 
  • Late drop-off/ early pick-up of students 
  • Delivering student belongings  
Are visitors, including parents and/or guardians, required to wear a face covering when they enter the building? 
Yes, any visitor to the building is required to wear a face covering before being admitted to the building. 
Are students, staff and/or visitors screened prior to entering a school building? 
It is the expectation of parents to send healthy students to school each day. Prior to the start of the school year, families completed a waiver indicating they will NOT send their student to school throughout the year if they exhibit the following symptoms: 
  • Temperature of 100.4 or greater 
  • Congestion and runny nose
  • Sore throat 
  • New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (For students with chronic allergic asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline). 
  • New onset of severe headache, especially with fever 
  • ​Loss of taste or smell   
Self-screening notifications are in all buildings alerting individuals NOT to enter the building if they are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19. 

What kind of training are you providing staff on COVID symptoms and screening measures? What about substitute teachers?
All staff are trained on safety protocols related to the prevention and transmission of COVID-19 and the proper hygiene protocols necessary for prevention. 
If a student or staff member exhibits COVID symptoms, what are the procedures to keep others safe?
If a student or staff member presents with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the individual will be sent home and presumed to have COVID until such time as a healthcare provider determines the illness is caused by something else and provides a note. Without a healthcare provider’s note, the individual would need to stay home from school for 10 days and be fever-free for 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medication. Additionally, siblings and household members will be required to quarantine for 14 days. If the individual is diagnosed with another condition that explains the symptoms, such as influenza or strep throat, or tested negative for COVID-19, no isolation or quarantine of close contacts is necessary once the individual is fever free for 24 hours and symptoms have subsided. 
How will contact tracing be done? 
HSE Schools will immediately contact the Fishers Health Department upon learning of a positive COVID case among the student body or staff. Much of the contact tracing will be conducted by school building personnel in which a positive case is identified.
Who decides if an individual school is to close? Can part of a school, instead of the whole school, be closed? 
Decisions on whether part of a school or an entire school will close will be made in consultation with the Fishers Health Department as part of contact tracing and case investigation. These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on movements of the infected individual.
Does HSE Schools require families that travel to other regions (hot spots) to quarantine? 
During all phases of the HSE Schools’ Operation Plan, we will continue to follow the guidelines and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Fishers Health Department regarding current travel restrictions.  Currently, ISDH is not recommending quarantine for individuals who travel to other regions. 


When will grades 7/8 go from Hybrid to a 4-day in-person instruction?
Beginning April 12th, grades 7/8 will join all other grades in attending in-person, M-Th. 

Are all grades participating in eFridays?
Yes, all grades PreK-12 will participate.   

Why do we need eFridays?
eFridays will provide needed time to support small groups of students and provide a more targeted approach to instruction with enrichment and/or remediation for students with specific needs. 

How will my child know what they need to work on for eFridays?
Students will log into Canvas to complete independent work.  Some students may also be expected to participate in live group support. Details will come from teachers.  

What are the in-person school hours?
Elementary: 9:45AM - 3:15PM
Intermediate: 8:15AM - 2:45PM
Jr. High: 8:15AM - 2:45PM
High School: 7:30AM - 2:00PM
(School buildings are open 30 minutes before and after class times)

How are desks set up in the classroom? 
Desks are set up to maximize social distancing to every effort possible. 
How do lunch periods work? 
Cohorted students wash their hands prior to lunch and proceed through the serving line wearing masks. Students eat in the cafeteria, cohorted with their class in assigned seats and socially distanced from the other classes. One directional pathways will be maintained in the cafeteria during lunch. Food items are prepared in-house and packaged by Food Service staff. Lunches are completely disposable and students will be asked to discard their trash as they exit the cafeteria. Lunch boxes may be brought from home but should be cleaned and sanitized nightly at home. 
How many students will be allowed in each classroom in order to maintain proper distancing? 
While we do not have a set number, desks are be set up to maximize social distancing to every effort possible. 
Can students be virtual-only due to health and safety concerns? 
Yes, a virtual-only option is available to students for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.
Can students change their mode of learning – going from in-person to 100% virtual and vice versa? 
Please discuss if this is an option with your building principal. 
How do students transition between classes? 
Buildings have taken measures to lessen congestion in hallways and improve conditions for social distancing. 
Are students given additional time to wash hands during passing periods, other times during school day? 
Yes, it is the expectation that students will practice hand washing or sanitizing when entering the building, prior to meals and whenever using the restroom. Passing periods may be adjusted as well, and flexibility will be given to students using this time for increased hygiene protocols. 


We have Disney Circle to prevent inappropriate access to the Internet. Is there software installed on school rental iPads that will protect them at home? 
Yes, all school-owned iPads have a content filtering that works at both school and home.
Do the rental iPads allow for kids to download other programs? I don’t want my child downloading Minecraft or other games when I won’t be home to monitor them.
HSE Schools manages all rental iPads and only permits curriculum-approved applications to be downloaded.  
If I am experiencing WiFi connection issues. To whom do I reach out to for help? 
Technical support is available by contacting the school your student attends. Also, WiFi is accessible in the parking lots at Durbin Elementary, Geist Elementary, New Britton Elementary and the lot between Sand Creek Elementary and Sand Creek Intermediate.  
Who is the best person to reach out to if I have technical difficulties during virtual learning? 
Please contact the Building Technology Specialist at the school your student attends.  
What does the curriculum look like for virtual instruction? 
Virtual instruction may be conducted using synchronous and asynchronous methods. 
  • Synchronous instruction takes place when a virtual learning student is able to join a live online lesson from another location and is participating in real-time instruction with other students. Example: A student joins a Zoom meeting with their teacher and other students at 10 a.m. during their math class. 
  • Asynchronous instruction takes place when a student accesses virtual content provided by the teacher at the time of their choosing. Example: A student watches a recorded math lesson on Canvas and completes an assignment at a time the student chooses. 
How quickly do teachers grade assignments and tests, so parents can keep on top of their student’s progress and quickly address any issues?  
Grades are expected to be recorded in Skyward within 5 school days of the assignment submitted or assessment taken.  
Whom do we contact if we are having problems with our virtual instruction experience?  
Teachers will communicate to their students how they may be reached for questions or concerns. If you are in need of technical assistance, you can click the "Virtual Technical Assistance" link on the front of each of the school websites. 
How does my student log into Canvas? 
Canvas resources for students and parents can be found here
What are the parent expectations for virtual instruction? 
Parents are still expected to have students up and ready to learn each day as they would if they were attending school in-person. Parents will not be responsible for teaching. Teachers will provide the structure and content for the day and support students when they need help understanding the standards being taught. 
What if I do not have a WiFi connection at my home?  
If you have not done so already, please fill out the Back to School forms in Skyward indicating that you have a WiFi connection concern. You can also visit the HSE Schools’ website for access to WiFi locations around the district and local libraries.   
How is attendance be taken during virtual instruction? 
If your student is sick or is not able to attend class virtually (doctor's appointment, family emergency, etc.) call the school to report the absence. 
  • When a student misses an assigned class period, they will be counted as absent. Students will be able to complete assigned work for the period of time they were absent.  
  • ​Attendance in Skyward will remain the official attendance for HSE Schools.  
Is there a childcare option for families unable to stay at home with their students all day?  
HSE Schools has partnered with the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis to offer childcare for families. If you believe you will utilize the YMCA for childcare, contact the YMCA directly at 317-484-9622 or via email at beforeandafterschool@indymca.org
What calendar changes will we see as a result of the virtual instruction schedule?  
revised calendar can be found on the HSE School website. 
Is instruction asynchronous or synchronous?  
Teachers will use a blend of both techniques. We have often referred to this as the "flipped method." See the Operations Plan for more details. 
Do students receive grades during virtual instruction?  
Yes, standard grades will be issued and HSE Schools will follow the quarterly grading schedule.  

Do High Ability (HA) students receive High Ability instruction?  
Yes, High Ability instruction is being offered.


If my child did not ride the bus 1st Semester but would like to for 2nd Semester, how can I make that switch?
Just call the school and they can work with transportation to make that change. 

Are students screened prior to boarding the school bus? 
Students are not screened prior to boarding the bus. We ask that parents familiarize themselves with the COVID-19 screening checklist and perform this each morning prior to sending a student to the bus stop. 
What is the protocol for handling a sick student who may board the school bus? 
If it is apparent that a student is sick, the driver notifies the school prior to arrival, so a school nurse or designee can meet the bus once they arrive. 
How are social distancing guidelines be applied to bus transportation? 
While it is not possible to follow social distance guidelines while on the school bus, all passengers are required to wear a face covering. 
Can students opt to walk or ride their bike to and from school? 
While riding a bike or walking to school could serve as a healthy alternative, HSE Schools discourages this from occurring due to safety concerns (i.e. lack of sidewalks and safe passageways to our buildings). Please contact your school for more information.  
When are the buses be cleaned and sanitized? 
Buses are cleaned after the morning and afternoon routes. High-touch areas (such as handrails in the student entrance area) are given additional attention to ensure they are disinfected. 
Do students need a face covering while on the school bus? 
Students are required to wear a face covering while riding on the bus. Since students will not be able to social distance from one another, this will provide an extra layer of protection. 
Why can’t bus drivers take temperatures of the kids as they try to get on the bus? 
We have determined that this is not a safe practice for two reasons:
  • It would take the attention and focus of the driver away from where it needs to be which is the loading zone of the bus.
  • It could potentially send a student back to an empty home, as parents may have already left for work. 
Can my child ride home with a friend on a different bus as they have in prior years?
Unfortunately, with assigned seating and social distancing guidelines, we are not able to support riding home with friends on the bus at this time. 


In the Operations Plan, Food Services references a “bar coding system.” Do students need to carry around an ID with a bar code? Can you explain what you mean by that?  
A barcode that coincides with the student ID number will be printed on the back of the student ID cards. Students need to carry their student ID to scan for meal purchases.  In some instances, covered keypads may be utilized and sanitized
between students.  In this scenario, students are asked to use hand sanitizer after they key in their number.

How are school lunch periods handled for virtual students?
  • Meals (breakfast and lunch) will be available for order by all students.
  • All meals will be pre-ordered on Thursday for pick-up on the following Tuesday.
  • Families will be sent a link via Skylert each week to pre-order meals.
  • The amount charged for a meal will be based on a student's eligibility for free, reduced or paid meals.
  • Meals will be available for pick-up at Fishers or Hamilton Southeastern High School(s) on Tuesdays.
Can high school students leave campus to each lunch?
Due to safety concerns of our students, the high schools will remain a closed campus. Students will not be allowed to leave the building for lunch.


If I have an IEP concern as it relates to virtual learning. Who should I contact for answers? 
Parents should contact their students Teacher of Record with questions or concerns about the IEP/virtual learning.
How is the district supporting  Exceptional Learners?
Information regarding how HSE Schools is providing services for Exceptional Learners can be found here.
Who should I contact about my student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP)?
The Teacher of Record should be contacted with any questions you have regarding a student’s Individual Education Plan.
What steps should I take if my student does not want to wear a mask or can’t wear a mask due to a medical condition?
All students are required to follow the Operation Plan’s guidelines across the district. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and HSE Schools recognizes that there are times when a student may not be able to wear a face covering in accordance with the Operations Plan. In the event of this situation, a parent will need to determine with their health care provider if the student is able to attend school in person. If not, the parents may opt for the virtual learning opportunity. If the student is able to attend school, but sometimes may not be able to wear a face covering, the following steps will be taken:
·      Discuss with your family doctor and share with school staff the physician's recommendations and why the student is unable to wear a mask.
·      Determine if a face shield is a suitable alternative for the student.
·      If the student is not able to wear a mask or face shield due to their disability or health condition, the school team will need to hold a case conference committee meeting to determine what accommodations or strategies need to be put in the students' IEP. This IEP revision will need to take place prior to the student attending school.
·      If a student does not have a medical reason and is not able to be compliant with wearing a mask, the Case Conference Committee will determine if a student is in need of social stories, practice sessions to desensitize them to wearing a mask, or a specific behavior intervention plan regarding the wearing of masks.
·      For situations that fall outside of the two examples listed above, building administrators will work with the Department of Exceptional Learners administrators to determine what steps need to be taken.
How will Case Conferences/ 504 meetings being handled?
Any meeting with teachers and staff may be held via Zoom or teleconferencing. In the event a meeting needs to occur in-person, all participants will be required to wear a face covering. In addition, parents will need to follow the district’s health protocols as they pertain to entering a school.
Are special education services available to my student if they are virtual?
Yes, special education services including accommodations will be provided to the extent possible via virtual instruction. A Case Conference Committee meeting may need to be held to discuss and revise the current IEP to reflect service delivery.
Are peers taking part in the preschool program for the 2020-21 school year?
Yes, peers will attend as they did during the 2019-20 school year.
In the event a school building or the district needs to shift back to virtual instruction, will services be provided?
Yes, students in preschool through grade 12 will continue to receive special education services virtually according to their virtual learning plan within the IEP. If a student has a 504 plan, accommodations will be provided during virtual instruction.


What things can I do to help support my student this year?
Fear and anxiety are somewhat common in crisis situations. This resource can help lead some discussion with your child around how to deal with fear. Continue to be mindful of how you talk about going to school. The words you use can either heighten or reduce your child's stress, fear or anxiety. Try to stay calm and be positive to help increase their outlook and offer time for them to talk about their concerns and/or questions. Talk with your child and encourage the different mitigation strategies they can practice that will help keep them safe. Explain social distancing, the why behind wearing a mask and hand washing. 

What if my child experiences an exposure to COVID-19?
This guide can assist you in supporting them. As always, we are here to support you and help make this a successful year. Please reach out to your child's school counselor if you have concerns or questions. 


Why is HSE Schools often using a different plan than other Hamilton County schools?
Each school corporation has a unique set of needs -- demographic, staff, financial, and curriculum. No two plans will be identical. The various corporations work together to coordinate efforts, but there is no expectation that they would be the same. In addition, HSE Schools works with the Fishers Health Department, while the other Hamilton County schools work with the Hamilton County Health Department. Guidelines can differ, depending on conditions with which the two health departments face.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools

  • Central Office
  • 13485 Cumberland Road, Fishers, IN 46038
  • Office Hours: M - F 7:30am - 4:30pm 
  • (317) 594-4100  (800) 905-6665

  • HSE Schools wants to hear from you! To send a general inquiry to the District Administration Office, click here. 

Our Mission

Hamilton Southeastern Schools, as a forward-thinking school district, provides educational opportunities to ensure the success of each and every student, to become a responsible citizen and to positively influence an ever-changing world community.