Parents, teachers, and even a public school student pleaded with the Hawaii State Board of Education Thursday to continue distance learning at public schools through at least the end of the first quarter, a decision state Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said she’s leaving to the 15 complex area superintendents across the state.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees and protects women’s constitutional right to vote.
The Hawaii State Teachers Association believes there is a strong argument for principals to approve teachers teleworking to reduce the number of individuals on campus.
During a Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, state senators pressed Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto about why more teachers aren’t allowed to telework when students are learning from home, and why educators are spending their own money for protective gear.
HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said, “There are still no metrics from the Department of Health and Department of Education on the requirements for safely reopening schools or when they should close. We are also concerned with the governor’s exceptions to our public school system. In order to reduce transmission, teachers should be allowed to work from home and no students should be coming on campus. Otherwise, he leaves gaping holes in these restrictions.”
Despite our calls to the contrary, many schools across the state welcomed thousands of students on campuses today, and additional face-to-face interactions are planned through the week. This cannot continue if we truly want to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in our communities.
This employee is currently self-isolating and, out of an abundance of caution, the HSTA closed the building for deep cleaning Monday. Due to strict safety protocols that included mask and social distancing requirements, no other employees were likely exposed.
In the last four days, the Hawaii State Teachers Association has received reports of employees at seven Oahu schools diagnosed with COVID-19, even before students return to public school campuses on Monday.
Many principals and complex area superintendents have drastically changed their approach, opting for grab-and-go arrangements to keep the number of students on campuses much lower than originally planned.
The state’s dangerous plans for in-person learning while coronavirus cases are exploding in our state, along with other violations of labor agreements, prompted the Hawaii State Teachers Association to file a prohibited practice complaint with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board against the state of Hawaii.