The change gives school staff an additional nine days for training and preparation before students to return to class.
On Thursday, July 30, at 1 p.m., the board will hold a special meeting to discuss school reopening options. The agenda includes three action items that link to background, recommendations, and implications as submitted by the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE). On Tuesday, July 28, we submitted joint testimony with HGEA and UPW on all three action items, which we are sharing below.
The Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) has scheduled a special meeting Thursday to take action on a number of scenarios that would give educators more time to prepare before students return to class during the pandemic.
BOE Chair Catherine Payne said the board will “hold a special meeting to address the concerns in the testimony about training and health matters that came up. At that point, we could also consider a waiver (of the 180 required student instructional days) for some additional professional development days.”
HSTA President Corey Rosenlee says the differentials “worked better than our dreams ever imagined,” and not just by filling the actual positions. Rosenlee says higher education programs that funnel educators into these positions also saw a significant increase.
James Sunday, Radford High School principal, submitted testimony to the BOE that said, “Although we are expected to be ‘good soldiers’ who follow directives, we can not in good conscience move forward without expressing the concerns we continue to have in regards to reopening our schools. The depth of these concerns keep us up at night as we hold the health and safety of our individual communities in our hands.”
We have a critical obligation to our communities to take every step and precaution necessary to ensure the safety of our students and members as we reopen schools.
"State officials should opt to delay the Aug. 4 start for students by up to a week, while tasking school facilities to hammer out, absorb and train up on more-through plans," the newspaper editorialized Wednesday.
The HIDOE and DOH need more time to properly create and implement health strategies to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and schools need more time to prepare educators for an online environment.
In spite of new data showing they were effective, a proposal before the Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) aims to defer millions of dollars in shortage differentials that the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) began in January for special education classroom teachers, Hawaiian language immersion educators, and educators at hard-to-staff schools.