EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a weekly column from Hamilton Heights Superintendent Dr. Derek Arrowood. All Hamilton County school superintendents are invited to send The Times similar routine messages. To do so, please contact our publisher at ttimmons@thetimes24-7.com

The fact that we know the only constant is change doesn’t necessarily make change any easier. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that things can change quickly and with little warning. In just a few weeks since Fall Break, we’ve been given a glimpse of what we can likely expect for the foreseeable future as higher virus rates, cooler temperatures, and the cold and flu season meet up.
Like the rest of our county, Heights has seen an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases among our students and staff. In fact, two staff members have tested positive this week and are isolating at home. However, there are no additional quarantines related to these individuals because they were already among a group quarantining from last week. For Heights, the larger impact is the related quarantines which affect both the attendance threshold and our ability to staff in-person classes. So far, we’ve done a pretty good job of making it work.
We are closely monitoring the situation and in constant communication with our partners at the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and the Hamilton County Health Department. Both of which have been invaluable resources in helping us to navigate this exceptional journey that began in March. Because the positivity rates are increasing in our community, a change in the county color code from orange to red could occur. The color determination for Indiana counties is updated every Wednesday at noon on the ISDH website. For this week, Hamilton County remains at orange. The corresponding K-12 recommendations based on county color codes can be accessed here. 
For now, even if the color changes to red, we believe we can safely keep in-person classroom instruction as an option with the ability to transition to E-Learning if mandated. With that said, our staff has been preparing to make the shift to our virtual learning model and communicating their expectations and encouraging students to plan…just in case.
On Monday, we reopened our high school building, and it was a welcome sight. All buildings are open with in-person instruction. It is our goal to keep our buildings open through next Tuesday, November 24. We are also taking all necessary and recommended steps to protect the health of our students, school personnel, and the greater Heights community every single day. I do want to commend our students and staff for their excellent efforts in distancing and wearing their masks, and for the highly effective contact tracing effort that enables us to limit the spread within our buildings and on our campus.
I am extremely grateful to our staff who have proven time and again that they have the tenacity to move between in-person and virtual learning options, support our students in untold ways, be able to meet the moment, and inspire learning under any circumstance.  #WeAreHuskies

Dr. Derek Arrowood is Superintendent at Hamilton Heights School Corporation