The city schools employ 800 teachers.
Hamilton was not alone Tuesday in announcing school closures.
Officials in the Talawanda school system told school families the district middle school will also close Wednesday and re-open Tuesday due to staffing shortages.
“We are close in each building to being forced to shut down. Bogan Elementary has a 15.8% student absenteeism rate. Kramer has a 14.9% student absenteeism rate. Marshall has a 16% student absenteeism rate. Lastly, Talawanda High School has a 15.6% student absenteeism rate. We also have many staff who are absent in each building,” wrote Superintendent Ed Theroux in a message to parents.
Holbrook said the city schools are now reflecting what area businesses are also seeing in regards to rocketing employee absences due to the rising number of cases of the COVID-19 Omicron virus variant.
“Hamilton City Schools and other local businesses and school districts have been negatively impacted by staff illness,” he said.
The temporary closing comes at a time when Hamilton Schools were already scheduled to be closed on Friday due to a professional training and development day for school instructors and also closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Hundreds of students in the district’s virtual learning program will not be impacted by the stoppage of in-person classes, he said. But all home student learning extracurricular activities are cancelled for Wednesday through Friday.
Hamilton school parent Deron Wells reacted to the closure announcement saying “it’s crazy.”
“I was like ‘here we go again,’” said Wells, who was picking up his three children from Riverview Elementary for the last time until next Tuesday.
“Now I’m going to have be there (home) from work to watch the kids, so it does affect everything,” said Wells, who added he wasn’t surprised.
“I started to see how bad the case (numbers) were getting and the signs (closures and reduced staffing notices) at the stores.”
The previously scheduled Hamilton Board of Education meeting on Thursday is not cancelled.
Hamilton Schools are the first in Butler County to close live classes due to the recent jump in COVID-19.
Other districts, however, such as Lakota have warned school families of the possibility of such closings occurring as early as later this week.
(Photojournalist Nick Graham contributed to this story.)