Hawai‘i Board of Education Meets Thursday to Consider Proposal to Delay Students’ Return to Aug. 17

July 28, 2020, 8:26 AM HST · Updated July 28, 8:28 AM
Wendy Osher · 0 Comments
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Dr. Christina Kishimoto. PC: Olelo Community TV (File 7.16.20)

The Hawaiʻi Board of Education will review a proposal on Thursday afternoon that seeks to move the start date for students from the previously announced Aug. 4 date to Aug. 17 instead.

Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto on Monday said a conditional agreement was reached between the Department of Education and several unions to propose a two-week delayed start for students.

The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association wants assurances that health and safety preparedness concerns relating to COVID-19 and the protection of teachers, staff and students are addressed. The HSTA joined the Hawaiʻi Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers union in urging the state and the BOE to delay the start of school for students.

Meantime, Kishimoto said the proposal would accommodate concerns regarding employee training.

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In a statement yesterday, Kishimoto said:

“HIDOE leadership has been working with the unions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure our students get the education they deserve and our employees have a safe work environment. We have continued these conversations and reached a conditional agreement today to propose a delayed start for students to accommodate concerns regarding employee training.

“Throughout our discussions, we were mindful that any adjustments to the calendar must focus on educating and supporting students. We also acknowledge the voice of our families, partners and employees who are not represented by the unions yet are impacted by this decision.

“We will use this time to prepare at yet another level, but I recognize this comes at a cost for public school parents and our students. My expectation is that if the Board approves the two week delay, that our labor partners will do an aggressive push to their members to be at schoolhouse doors on day one for our students.”The HGEA and UPW joined the HSTA in a joint statement Wednesday calling for a delay in bringing students back to campus.”

In addition to a proposed delayed start for students, the Board will also consider a general waiver to allow reduction of the 180 day school year and 1,080 student instructional hours.

The Board will also review expectations relating to:  (1) focusing additional training and professional development days included in the revisions to the Department of Education’s 2020-2021 school calendar on health, safety, and distance learning; (2) starting student instruction for the 2020-2021 school year in distance learning mode; (3) mandating masks on public school campuses; and (4) detailed, written, publicly posted guidance from the Department of Health

The virtual meeting takes place at 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, the day after educators are to report back to school for training and preparation.  Meeting information is available here.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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