HSTA President Osa Tui Jr. says he and fellow HSTA leaders are continuing to absorb the updated guidance, and stressed during a news conference Monday that “our teachers have wanted to be back in school with their students for a while now, and they are committed to making their classrooms as safe as possible for their students.”
Educators will begin to get access to COVID-19 vaccines on a regular basis toward the end of January and early February, state officials said, while Kauai public school employees will get vaccinated starting Monday.
With the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in Hawaii, the Hawaii State Teachers Association demands that the Hawaii Department of Health and the Hawaii Department of Education revise the standard used to determine school learning models.
School level leaders encouraged to complete health and safety assessment
According to Hawaii State Teachers Association analysis of the new metrics, the DOH standards are not well aligned with risk-level metrics issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the last few weeks, a number of developments have occurred regarding the Hawaii State Teachers Association’s collective bargaining agreement (contract) with the state of Hawaii. Currently, there are three different areas of negotiation that could potentially impact your working conditions and future compensation.
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.
The Board of Education will hold a special meeting next week during which it will vote on a proposal to temporarily suspend changes to in-person or hybrid learning at schools, set up clearer reopening guidelines, and consider a measure making it easier for public school teachers to be granted telework options during the pandemic.
At Thursday’s BOE meeting, Rosenlee testified about HSTA members’ concerns and said, “The lack of action and transparency from the DOE has put the lives and health of teachers, staff, and our students in jeopardy. This was clearly evident today when the Department of Education and the Department of Health announced metrics for reopening schools. HSTA was never consulted in the creation of these metrics.”
In written testimony ahead of the BOE’s general meeting Thursday afternoon, members cited flawed Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) policies and procedures in response to COVID-19.