Landfill Fire School Update

Dec. 7 Update

Since the very first Remind message sent to families at 4:52 AM on November 16th, I feel as though I have only been the bearer of bad news to our families, but finally, I can share the news we have all been waiting to hear. All HES students and staff will be able return to our school beginning Monday, Dec. 11.

School administration and district leaders met late this afternoon with Barrow County Fire, Sheriff, Health Department, and Emergency Management officials to review the results from the air quality testing conducted at the school. We reviewed the report from the Environmental Hygienist, and Barrow County Fire provided an update of the inert landfill fire including the progress that has been made in containing it. While there still may be a smoke odor on some days around the school, the testing results shows particulate matter is not a concern at this time. All tests indicate it is clear to return to our building.

We will be eternally grateful to the administration, staff, students, and families of Austin Road Elementary, Barrow Arts and Sciences Academy, and County Line Elementary for providing us with a safe and welcoming learning environment. This unique situation has also provided us with a unique opportunity to form new relationships and future collaboration with new partners.

We are thankful for the overwhelming support we received from the citizens and businesses of Barrow County. Barrow County rallied around us, and the overall response was exceptional. There were numerous acts of service and kindness.

Most importantly, we are so thankful to all the efforts of you, our HES school community, for doing all you could to support learning either digitally or in person. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigated this unusual situation. The work is not yet done; our teachers and staff will be busy this weekend moving back to HES to prepare our classrooms.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at, and we will respond as soon possible. Once again, we look forward to seeing our Hawks bright and early on Monday, Dec. 11.

Some scenes from our time at Austin Road Elementary:

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