HIDOE leaders visit Lahaina schools, plans for students and staff impacted by wildfires underway
Wildfire updates for Aug. 16 are posted: HERE.
Superintendent Keith Hayashi visited the three Lahaina campuses on Tuesday along with key legislators and Hawaiʻi State Department of Education leadership.
While all three campuses (Lahainaluna High, Lahaina Intermediate and Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary) sustained wind damage, the overall structure of campus buildings and classrooms are in good condition, according to department administrators.
Lahaina school administration teams are eager to resume teaching and learning for those who are ready and able to access it, and the Department is committed to ensuring that this is done as quickly and safely as possible.
Crews are currently at the campus sites, cleaning debris and testing both air and water quality in the coming days. Reopening dates will be determined once campuses are confirmed as safe for students and staff.
“We are planning with our partners at the Department of Health, FEMA, Governor’s office and the County to bring our students and staff back to school,” said Superintendent Hayashi. “We know the recovery effort is still in the early stages and we continue to grieve the many lives lost. We are doing everything we can to support all of our impacted staff, students and families.”
Joining Superintendent Hayashi on Maui were state Senate Vice President and Education Chairwoman Michelle Kidani, state House Education Chairman Justin Woodson, state House Finance Chairman Kyle Yamashita and Board of Education Maui member Kahele Dukelow.
The Department is still exploring options for students who attended Kamehameha III Elementary, including welcoming students to Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary as well as the potential for a temporary satellite site in West Maui.
In the meantime, students who are able to are encouraged to enroll at other public schools that are near their current location so that they have access to in-person services like meals, socialization and counseling. HIDOE liaisons are visiting shelters to share information and resources with displaced students and families.
Schools in Central, South and Upcountry Maui and a few off-island schools have begun enrolling displaced students, signing up approximately 200 West Maui students as of today. Nearly 100 applications for the State Distance Learning Program were also received on Monday.
As school communities continue to navigate this difficult situation, the Department is also offering students, families and staff with mental health support — both in-person and telehealth counseling. Information on this, as well as other information and resources to assist those impacted by the wildfires, can be accessed at bit.ly/HIDOE-West-Maui-Resources.
How you can help
In response to the outpouring of generosity toward the recovery of West Maui school communities, the Department is partnering with the Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation to support impacted school communities. The most immediate need and request from Maui schools is for monetary donations that can provide direct support for response efforts. Learn more at bit.ly/HelpMauiSchools.