This guidance is provided as a member resource regarding the agreement reached with the State of Hawaii and the Hawaii Board of Education to amend the June 2020 memorandum of understanding related to COVID-19 response for school year 2020-2021 and the corresponding coronavirus preparation and response letter dated July 13, 2020.
Parents, teachers, and even a public school student pleaded with the Hawaii State Board of Education Thursday to continue distance learning at public schools through at least the end of the first quarter, a decision state Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said she’s leaving to the 15 complex area superintendents across the state.
Over the last few days, teachers across the state have contacted HSTA to report confirmed COVID-19 cases at four schools. In each of these cases, teachers were notified, but parents and the greater public were not. This is happening less than one week before students are supposed to return for face-to-face learning and testing on school campuses.
HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said, “Hawaii can no longer pretend we are not in the middle of a pandemic and that somehow our keiki and our teachers are impervious to this virus. As teachers, we know how important education is, but we are most concerned about the lives of every one of our students. Online classwork cannot replace face-to-face learning, but it ensures that learning continues and that our keiki and our communities remain safe.”
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.”
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.