HSTA pushes HIDOE for COVID-19 guidance, procedures, clarification

Written request follows class grievance for BU05 members

The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) sent a letter Tuesday to the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) to request in writing key guidance, procedures, and clarification during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The HSTA has been seeking answers and clarification to much of this information for weeks and months. This formal written request follows the class grievance that HSTA filed Aug. 17 on behalf of Bargaining Unit 05 employees over violations to the HSTA collective bargaining agreement (contract) and memorandum of understanding (MOU) reached with the state of Hawaii in June.  

The HSTA is asking for:

  • Written guidance and/or other communication provided to public charter schools and or the State Public Charter School Commission as it relates to the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • All written guidance provided to the HIDOE from the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) related to the resumption of in-person schooling for students, such as:
    • Guidance on configuration of classrooms, face coverings, personal protective equipment (PPE), triggers or metrics to determine when to close a school building or resume in-person schooling, notification and handling of positive cases, and testing and contact tracing relating to in-person schooling,
  • Specific written health screening procedures for all schools and worksites,
  • Information regarding the distribution and use of PPE to worksites,
  • Information related to distance learning, such as:
    • Clear definitions of “disadvantaged” or “vulnerable” students,
    • The number and types of students being provided in-person instruction or access to campus “learning labs” at each school,
    • Clarification of how schools determine SPED students services “that cannot be provided in a distance learning format,” and the number of SPED students who are reporting to campuses for in-person instruction,
    • The number of students and adults per classroom for fully self-contained and/or medically fragile students,
    • Guidance on how campus learning labs are set up and staffed,
  • The number of teachers by school who have applied for, been approved for, and denied telework and ADA accommodations of telework,
  • Updated information on cleaning protocols,
  • Guidance for determining the physical spaces that are closed and cleaned after a positive COVID-19 case,
  • Vetting process for new incoming students from out of state,
  • Information on schools and worksites connected to confirmed COVID-19 cases, number and handling of BU05 employees impacted by these cases, written notifications, and individuals at the complex, district, and state levels who advise and lead the response.

We are also pushing the HIDOE and DOH to ensure safe conditions for all students and staff, as well as an independent audit to determine health and safety procedures before any in-person, face-to-face instruction can resume.