HSTA monitors lava threat; works with DOE to help teachers and students
HSTA President Corey Rosenlee traveled to Hawaii Island Tuesday to meet with teachers in some of the schools affected by the lava outbreaks. He also spoke with Hilo Chapter’s HSTA leaders at the last RA of the school year. Teachers were able to share additional information with Corey and HSTA staff so we can better support and direct efforts to support our HSTA ohana affected by the lava outbreaks.
Among the efforts HSTA is pursuing and working on:
The HSTA has confirmed the following information with DOE:
Any teacher who lives in an area affected by the mandatory evacuation may request up to five consecutive days of paid administrative leave to address their personal matters related to the evacuation. Teachers must make the request of their principal.
HSTA has made a number of specific requests of the DOE in the last week, and will follow up on the efforts as we move through the end of the school year. Those requests include:
DOE ensure staff members are provided and aware of protocols for emergency plans as well as the opportunity to meet to answer questions and/or discuss additional concerns not addressed in the school emergency plan.
DOE fully explain to staff the steps being taken to assess school/campus risk to health and safety and the process for determining a school will close.
The DOE consider additional communication methods with staff and families such as a text messaging system to ensure more timely communication, especially for things such as closing schools.
The DOE provide the necessary and adequate resources for school shelter-in-place situations be provided, such as masks, food, water, materials to seal windows and provisions for emergency restroom/toileting.
The DOE consider if air-conditioning or air purifiers could be provided to affected schools.
The DOE has put out two memos in the last week about the situation:
Update on Activity at Kilauea
Kilauea Update: Ash Concerns, Employee Assistance
Widowed just two years ago, Pahoa Elementary School Teacher Amber Makuakane lost her Puna home to the lava, one of the first structures claimed my Madame Pele. She and her two children—ages 4 and 6—evacuated from their Leilani Estates home on Friday, May 4.
Makuakane now is working to find a place to rent while paying for her mortgage and replacing the basics of life. She and her family escaped with three trash bags of clothes, a few towels and blankets, a cooler, the kids’ bikes, a grill and important documents. Otherwise, they have nothing left.
Her teacher colleagues have set up a GoFundMe page for Makuakane which had raised $57,336 as of midday on May 9.
“Please extend a huge mahalo to HSTA and my fellow colleagues for the outpouring of love and support,” she said. “It is evident that the aloha spirit is alive and well here in Hawaii. I am truly blessed to be a member of HSTA and a teacher at Pahoa Elementary!”