Ask the Mayor: School Still Open Amid Coronavirus Concerns

March 15, 2020, 12:19 PM HST · Updated March 15, 4:34 PM
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Maui High School. Photo by Wendy Osher.

UPDATE: (3.15.20) Hawai‘i Public Schools CLOSED: Return Date Tentatively Set for March 30

Hawaiʻi public schools will close through at least the end of March due to ongoing concerns for the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ige announced during a press conference held today. The closure essentially extends spring break by an additional week to March 27, 2020.
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Mayor Michael Victorino answers some of the most-asked questions.

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Q: Why are children still going to school with all the concerns surrounding the coronavirus?

A: We’ve been asked this question many times and I think it’s important for people to understand that schools fall under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Education.

As you may already know, the DOE canceled all school and Department-related travel to the U.S. mainland and international destinations until the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The DOE also stated on its website that it is “working closely with the Hawaii Department of Health on guidance for students, teachers, parents and staff to prepare for and prevent the possible arrival of the COVID-19 disease at school campuses.”

“In close coordination with DOH, existing emergency response plans are being adapted for future implementation when needed to help stop the spread of the disease,” according to its website. “Detailed communications from schools are planned to keep parents notified should the situation arise.”

The Hawaii High School Athletic Association also announced that starting Monday, March 16, 2020, “all interscholastic competition will be suspended indefinitely based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat.”

“The possible resumption of play will not be made without the HHSAA first consulting with the Hawaii State Department of Health and the Lt. Governor’s office,” according to the HHSAA. “The HHSAA will also continue to evaluate the situation and make a later determination regarding its spring state tournaments scheduled for May.”

My administration will be assisting our local students, teachers, and DOE staff in whatever way they need. I want to thank them all as well as our parents for doing their part to protect the health of our children and limit the spread of illness in our community.

For the latest and most accurate updates from the Hawaii State Department of Education, visit http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/Pages/Home.aspx.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your Maui County related questions to Mayor Michael Victorino by email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail at 200 S. High St., ninth floor, Wailuku 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column; to request a personal response to a concern, email [email protected]

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