SB811 requires the HIDOE to publish a weekly report starting after July 1 on schools that have a student, staff member, or affiliated individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The schools superintendent faces increasing pressure from state lawmakers to rescind budget cuts and direct federal stimulus aid to keep school employees on the payroll and maintain their current levels of pay instead of implementing pay cuts, layoffs, or hiring tutors.
The Hawaii State Department of Education’s chief financial officer told the Board of Education Thursday that the teachers' union correctly described congressional restrictions on reducing public school budgets after the state accepted hundreds of millions of dollars in federal pandemic aid.
After the Hawaii State Department of Health’s school reopening metrics came under intense criticism because, among other things, they were as much as 10 times less stringent than federal metrics, the state epidemiologist told state senators Friday that her department is “looking at coming up with a revised draft of the thresholds.”
During a Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, state senators pressed Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto about why more teachers aren’t allowed to telework when students are learning from home, and why educators are spending their own money for protective gear.
In the last four days, the Hawaii State Teachers Association has received reports of employees at seven Oahu schools diagnosed with COVID-19, even before students return to public school campuses on Monday.
HSTA was not consulted nor notified prior to Friday’s announcement, and learned of the developments alongside the public. HSTA has subsequently demanded impact bargaining with the employer as the changes would have ramifications on numerous parts of our current contract.
We have a critical obligation to our communities to take every step and precaution necessary to ensure the safety of our students and members as we reopen schools.
"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.