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.
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.
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.
We are pleased to report that the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) and Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto have reached a resolution on distancing of students in classrooms and face-covering requirements.
After a record number of educators and parents expressed concerns about unsafe social distancing protocols that violate a school reopening agreement between the state and Hawaii State Teachers Association, the Hawaii State Board of Education Thursday night voted to defer approval of the deal.
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 HSTA Negotiations Team meets for an hour and a half with top HIDOE officials Monday to begin detailed bargaining about reopening schools.
"This week, the Department of Education released the ‘Guidance for Reopening Schools.’ HSTA was not consulted and did not agree to these policies, even though teachers will be the ones most likely being forced to implement these policies,” HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said. “We have many questions and concerns.”