The Board of Education will hold a special meeting next week during which it will vote on a proposal to temporarily suspend changes to in-person or hybrid learning at schools, set up clearer reopening guidelines, and consider a measure making it easier for public school teachers to be granted telework options during the pandemic.
The meeting will be held Thursday, Oct. 1 at 1:30 p.m., according to the agenda published Friday afternoon.
In an action item about school reopening, BOE Chair Catherine Payne noted:
“The Department of Education has not yet adopted or incorporated Guidance for Schools COVID-19 into the Return to Learn: School Reopening Plan, the Return to Learn: School Reopening Plan Principal Handbook, or the Return to Learn: School Reopening Plan Health & Safety Handbook.
I recommend that the Board direct the Superintendent to incorporate into the applicable guidance documents: (1) minimum thresholds and criteria for transitioning schools to hybrid or in-person learning, (2) clear decision-making responsibilities for such transitions, and (3) reasonable notification to families and staff of impending transitions.
I also recommend that the Board suspend changes to instructional delivery modes (i.e., distance, hybrid, and in-person learning) for all schools until the Superintendent incorporates the directives stated herein into the applicable guidance documents.”
The BOE reopening action item recommended “using the Learning Model Parameters as minimum thresholds for when certain instructional delivery modes are allowable. This means that the cases per 10,000 people metric is one indicator of when it might be possible for schools to transition to hybrid or in-person learning. However, my proposal requires schools to meet other criteria before they may proceed with transitioning to hybrid or in-person learning.”
Payne’s proposal further said, “It is incumbent upon the Board and Superintendent to make it explicitly clear which mitigation strategies are minimum requirements that a school must be able to implement before it can offer hybrid or in-person learning. To be clear, schools should be implementing all required mitigation strategies regardless of instructional delivery mode, but the degree and complexity of implementation changes as schools progress toward more in-person learning.”
Many mitigation strategies exist across at least five documents, the BOE proposal said, “and it is not always clear which strategies are required.”
“Principals seeking approval to transition their respective schools from distance learning to hybrid or in-person learning or from hybrid learning to in-person learning must demonstrate that the school can adequately implement all COVID-19 mitigation strategies required by the Board, DOE, and applicable collective bargaining agreements with the anticipated number of students and staff that will be on campus in the new instructional delivery mode,” the BOE proposal said.
The measure also sharpens the lines of authority, which have been a problem without clear direction from the top during the coronavirus.
“Principals must obtain approval from their respective Complex Area Superintendent (“CAS”) before transitioning their respective schools from distance learning to hybrid or in-person learning or from hybrid learning to in-person learning.” Payne’s proposal said.
Payne’s measure proposes to adopt the following positions as Board directives and directs Superintendent Christina Kishimoto to incorporate them into the HIDOE’s Reopening Plan, Principal Handbook, and Health and Safety Handbook (as applicable) for the 2020-2021 school year:
A second BOE action item on telework noted, “Overall, it does not appear that the Department has been implementing telework in alignment with the Board’s June 18, 2020 Reopening Resolution,” so Payne proposed the board direct the superintendent to adopt the following telework directives for educators:
The HSTA applauds the BOE chair's action items and supports efforts to further support telework in addition to clear health and safety measures.
"HSTA thanks the BOE and Chair Payne for holding a special meeting to discuss telework and the needed requirements before schools can reopen for hybrid or in-person learning,” said HSTA Corey Rosenlee.
We say mahalo to the thousands of HSTA members, other school employees, parents, students, and others who’ve submitted written testimony and testified virtually before the board in the last several months. The proposals being considered by the BOE specifically cite testimony from our members as part of their rationale.
"We are asking members to send in written testimony, but to refrain from oral testimony so that the BOE will have time to discuss and pass these action items. We appreciate all the testimony from all of our members that have highlighted these issues and have advocated for the BOE to take action. It shows the power of our collective action," Rosenlee said.
If you feel comfortable sharing your name, school, and testimony publicly, please email testimony.BOE@boe.hawaii.gov by noon on Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Include the word “Testimony” in the subject line and at the top of the email, explain that you are testifying on action item B or C:
Please be aware that all testimony submitted to the BOE becomes public record and is posted on the board’s website.
Categories: NewsNumber of views: 7098
Tags: Board of Education Department of Education testimony Department of Health action coronavirus COVID-19 guidance telework distance learning hybrid in-person learning