We are pleased to report that the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) and Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto have reached a resolution on distancing of students in classrooms and face-covering requirements.
The HSTA bargaining team and Hawaii State Department of Education leadership met for several hours Friday and through the weekend. Mahalo to thousands of our members who submitted testimony to the Board of Education last week. We would not have been able to continue this conversation without you.
Today, we finalized an agreement on a procedure to address any school which seeks to configure meetings spaces between three and six feet.
This agreement is in line with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) SY 2020–21 Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response that HSTA and the state signed two weeks ago.
The resolution finalized today includes the following:
While there are no specific criteria for an exception, HSTA will look very closely at any school’s request. We will review the rationale for the submission, the involvement and support of the teachers on that campus, and all of the health and safety factors that would help to mitigate risk to adults and children by configuring classrooms at a distance of less than six feet.
View the new agreement
Download the COVID-19 Response Exceptions Request form
Spaces where students, staff and/or other individuals meet need to be configured to “minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread.” While the MOU we reached a two weeks ago doesn’t expressly prohibit configuring student desks at less than six feet, distancing of three to six feet should not be the norm or a starting point. Desks placed less than six feet apart should be the exception to the rule, and there should be clear and specific reasons that would justify an exception and how the added risk is mitigated by other actions such as mandatory face coverings.
This may or may not require a change in the instructional model a school is implementing. If a change in instructional model is needed, then the school will need to utilize the instructional model decision process in the MOU to adjust their model.
The HIDOE also agreed to revise and update its health and safety guidance to reflect the requirement of maintaining a distance of at least six (6) feet, and that any configuration at a distance of between three (3) and six (6) feet may only occur with an approved contract exception and additional precautions.
The parties also agreed on the importance of clarifying that teachers will need to determine the routines and rules in their classrooms when it comes to wearing face coverings. Therefore, the parties agreed that classroom teachers will make decisions for their students and their classroom based on their instructional methods and various curriculum delivery all in line with the HSTA MOU SY 2020–21 COVID-19 Response.
Finally, in line with the MOU, the parties have agreed that we will continue to meet in the immediate future on a weekly basis to address many ongoing issues related to the reopening of school buildings.
HSTA remains committed to working toward the safest possible environment for our members, students, and all school staff. While we recognize the importance of mitigating further disruption of students’ education, we remain keenly aware of the need to ensure that health and safety are at the top of the list.
If you have any questions or concerns, or believe that your school is not following our agreement or MOU, please reach out to your school-level leaders, UniServ Director, or let us know via this online form.
HSTA’s Negotiations Team:
Paul Daugherty, Chair (Kona); Diane Mokuau, Vice Chair (Molokai); Shannon Kaaa (Honolulu); Lisa Morrison (Maui); Corey Rosenlee, President; Osa Tui, Vice President; Logan Okita, Secretary-Treasurer; Andrea Eshelman, HSTA Deputy Executive Director and Chief Negotiator.
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Tags: christina kishimoto Board of Education Department of Education superintendent coronavirus COVID-19 memorandum of understanding mou