The board outlines issues that need to be settled before more students return to class

On Saturday, the Hawaii State Teachers Association Board of Directors voted to support our HSTA Negotiations Team in conducting impact bargaining with the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) on wider implementation of face-to-face learning in the fourth quarter.

HSTA’s Board of Directors consists of active members who are elected to these leadership positions in every HSTA chapter across the state.

Hawaii has one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 cases in the United States with some islands having very few, if any, active cases. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Hawaii Department of Health are recommending that students return to in-person learning. Hawaii has prioritized school-level personnel to receive vaccinations and our members have indicated in large part that they have taken advantage of the opportunity. At some point, students need to return to classes. Research has shown that the lack of social interaction has hurt students.

The measure approved Saturday by HSTA’s board says that HSTA believes:

  • All teachers should have access to vaccinations and that teachers should be given the chance for both doses of the vaccinations (plus two weeks) before students return.
  • Teachers should not have to teach concurrently (simultaneously in-person and virtually).
  • Parents should have the option of voluntary distance learning in the fourth quarter.
  • To the greatest extent possible, masks to be worn at school.
  • Schools should maintain six-foot distancing to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Instructional time should be spent on instruction, not test preparation.
  • The HIDOE should request a waiver from ESSA accountability and school identification requirements.
  • Parents should be given the flexibility to refuse to subject their children to the ESSA requirement of standardized testing this year.
  • The HIDOE should maintain the highest standards when it comes to cleanliness and sanitation.
  • Teachers should get extra time for preparation (teacher-initiated activities).
  • The HIDOE should not unilaterally implement changes without engaging in impact bargaining.

HSTA President Corey Rosenlee answered questions from reporters about school reopening Monday afternoon.

Follow the discussion during Thursday’s BOE meetings

At the Board of Education Human Resources Committee meeting, which starts at 11 a.m. Thursday, members will vote on whether to recommend a new contract for Superintendent Kishimoto. Association leaders will provide testimony, and HSTA will stream the discussion live on Facebook and YouTube.

Then, at its general business meeting on Thursday afternoon, the BOE will hear and discuss a presentation from the Hawaii State Department of Education on “strategies for safe reopening of elementary and secondary schools to more in-person learning for fourth quarter.”

This is only a discussion. The board will not vote or take any action Thursday to bring more students back to campuses. We will also stream the general business meeting on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

View the following Board of Education meeting agendas for Thursday, March 4: