Despite speculation and recent media reports that caused confusion, the Hawaii State Teachers Association has confirmed with the Hawaii State Department of Education that the department is still planning exactly how instruction will be delivered next school year. No decision has been made.
We also confirmed Wednesday, June 3, that the HIDOE is considering mixed modes of instruction and will not limit instruction to one mode for all students (e.g., all secondary students will be online).
To reiterate, as of Wednesday, June 3, no decisions regarding the mode of instruction have been decided for school year 2020–21. The HIDOE published a one-page guidance document that was not shared in advance with HSTA, and we have a number of questions and concerns regarding what is outlined. Please note, any changes in working conditions will require impact bargaining.
After HSTA sent a demand for impact bargaining on May 19, HIDOE responded in a letter received June 2. In it, the department said it would continue to engage in good-faith impact bargaining with our Association.
Since late April, HSTA has repeatedly asked the HIDOE what model(s) will be used to reopen public schools in school year 2020–21. We have also asked how teachers and students will be supported with training and resources as part of any distance learning plan.
The HSTA anticipates conversations with HIDOE in the next few weeks to discuss reopening. We will let you know when we have more information.
Hawaii schools do not have enough classroom space and/or teachers to facilitate the smaller face-to-face classroom numbers social distancing required during the COVID-19 pandemic. HSTA believes schools cannot open as normal for school year 2020–21 without a significant impact on the school day/week reporting structure. Schools may need to stagger days and or times students attend in person.
Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto has spoken to the media about some broad school reopening concepts, saying she expects the following:
Last month, the HSTA submitted a formal notice to HIDOE for impact bargaining. We also transmitted a two-page document to the HIDOE on May 19 with a lengthy list of health and safety issues that we believe need to be addressed and possibly bargained before school reopens.
The issues include:
In the coming weeks, HSTA anticipates that we will engage in impact bargaining with the HIDOE on a wide variety of topics related to campuses reopening to face-to-face instruction, possible staggered schedule models, and health and safety. We will keep members updated throughout the summer and when agreements are reached, we will notify members as soon as possible.
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