The Hawaii State Teachers Association recognizes that the coronavirus pandemic has created serious, complicated, and immediate challenges for educators, students and their families, and we are committed to finding a solid, sensible solution.
Hawaii is resuming out-of-state and international travel, and administrators are authorized to begin reopening schools based on guidance provided by the state Department of Health (HDOH). Yet Hawaii’s daily COVID-19 case count consistently remains in the triple digits, and cases are on the rise in many areas across our country and the world.
As educators, we know all too well the importance of face-to-face instruction. But we cannot resume in-person learning if it jeopardizes the health and safety of our keiki, our hard-working school employees, and our most vulnerable communities.
Our analysis of the latest metrics shows HDOH’s standards are not aligned with risk-level metrics issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Considerable discrepancies will allow students back onto campuses at higher risk levels for transmission in our schools.
We also know adherence to health and safety guidelines remains incredibly inconsistent across all schools and worksites. Many are simply incapable of implementing these guidelines because they lack the necessary custodial staff, funding, and enforcement. And adequate personal protective equipment procured by the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) has yet to reach all schools.
As schools prepare to reopen, the HSTA wants to ensure that our educators are equipped with the tools necessary to advocate on behalf of all students and themselves; that teaching and learning are as productive and consistent as possible during this pandemic; and that no school is forced to close because it was ill-equipped to handle a positive COVID-19 case.
Our members have always been strong, passionate advocates. Now, we are going one step further to collect solid data that shows exactly how safe, or unsafe, our school campuses are. To that end, we are asking our school level leader (SLL) teams to work together to determine how compliant each school is with current health and safety guidance.
We encourage all SLLs to do the following:
With your help, we can demand stronger action through impact bargaining and hold the HIDOE, BOE, and lawmakers accountable. Our schools are the heartbeat of our communities and we can’t afford to make any mistakes. If we navigate this crisis with compassion, creativity, and collaboration, we will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.
*Depending on the restrictions, you may not be able to do this with your school Google account.
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Tags: Board of Education Department of Education health Department of Health coronavirus COVID-19 guidance safety worksheet school level leaders