The Hamilton School District had its first reported case of COVID-19 infection Friday, September 25. At a special meeting of the HSD3 School Board Wednesday evening, Superintendent Tom Korst detailed the process used when the report was made. He said the school worked with Ravalli County Public Health in determining who might have come in "close contact" with the infected person, which he said was determined by Friday evening. Due to privacy considerations, he was not able to identify who the person was - whether a staff member or student. However, he said that all who were in close contact were contacted by Public Health nurses, mainly over the weekend. However, one class was shut down Monday while contact tracing was completed. The rest of the district schools continued normal classes. Korst said it is expected that through the school year there will be more positive COVID-19 tests. He emphasized that early preparation for COVID-19 this summer greatly reduced the possible infections from this initial case. That planning reduced class sizes with some elementary class sizes as low as 13 students. Masks are required in the school buildings and social distancing is in place in the classrooms. Room sanitizing is done between classes and school-wide cleaning is done nightly.

Korst also appealed to the public for more adult substitute teachers. Korst said that information to be a substitute is available at the district office for those who would be available to help out. There are minimum requirements - you must have at least a high school diploma and you will undergo a fingerprint background check. It's estimated between five to fifteen substitutes are needed daily in Hamilton. Other districts are facing the same challenges. At the special meeting October 1, the Hamilton School Board also passed a financial bonus plan for those who substitute for at least 10 events. Want to be a substitute? Call the district office at (406) 363-2280.