The memo responds to testimony from HSTA members that prompted the Hawaii State Board of Education to take important action at their Oct. 1 meeting.
At a special meeting, the Hawaii State Board of Education Thursday took steps to improve teacher telework approval procedures by requiring administrators to provide reasons in writing for rejecting those requests during the pandemic.
A day before the Hawaii Board of Education holds a special meeting on several key items including school reopening guidelines and telework for educators during the pandemic, the Hawaii State Teachers Association raised serious concerns that the state Department of Health’s new guidelines for the safe opening of schools are unsafe and much less stringent than federal guidelines.
Angie Choi, a school counselor at Dole Middle School, submitted testimony to the Board of Education Wednesday asking them on behalf of her late sister to assure that educators can telework during the pandemic.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Wednesday that he wanted to include public schools in the “Stay-at-Home, Work-at-Home” order that goes into effect on Oahu at midnight, but Gov. David Ige asked that public schools and University of Hawaii campuses remain open.
The change gives school staff an additional nine days for training and preparation before students to return to class.
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.
"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.
Shortage differentials that the Hawaii State Department of Education began in January for special education classroom teachers, Hawaiian language immersion educators and teachers at hard-to-staff schools will continue in school year 2020–21, after the department confirmed the eligibility criteria in a memo published this week.
The Hawaii Board of Education meets virtually Thursday, June 4, and is seeking feedback about reopening Hawaii’s public schools through Friday.