Central and South Maui schools designated as temporary school sites for impacted Lahaina students displaced by wildfire
Given the uncertainty on reopening dates for the public school campuses in Lahaina, effective immediately, impacted West Maui students still looking for an in-person learning option may temporarily relocate to designated schools in Central and South Maui, with bus transportation to be provided in the coming days.
“We are still very hopeful that our Lahaina schools will be able to reopen, but not until we are assured that it is safe to do so. In the meantime we need to be able to provide options for families and students who want to access education outside of West Maui,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “We are also still actively pursuing temporary learning sites in West Maui to be able to provide options within the community.”
The Department is designating the following temporary sites for students to return to learning environments with their teachers and peers to help facilitate the healing process and restore some sense of normalcy as we await clearance for the Lahaina campuses to reopen. The Lahaina schools will retain their school status, but in temporary locations.
- Grades K-5: King Kamehameha III Elementary and Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary students will be temporarily assigned to either Wailuku Elementary or Kamali‘i Elementary in Kīhei.
- Grades 6-8: Lahaina Intermediate students will be temporarily assigned to Lokelani Intermediate in Kīhei.
- Grades 9-12: For Lahainaluna students, the school will temporarily function as a school within a school at Kūlanihāko‘i High in Kīhei.
As of Tuesday, more than 600 displaced and impacted students have re-enrolled in other public schools, with some nearing or at capacity to be able to adequately provide services for students. Designating the campuses listed above will help alleviate this issue. The Department’s Office of Talent Management is working to identify the personnel actions needed to provide adequate staffing support for the anticipated increased enrollment at the temporary school locations.
The Department is coordinating bus transportation for West Maui students to get to and from the temporary school sites. Pick-up and drop-off hub sites for students are being determined. Interested families should obtain and complete a bus application at their new school as soon as possible. Special transportation will be provided to students who receive transportation as a related service as part of their individualized education program.
Students already re-enrolled at other schools or who signed up for the state’s distance learning program prior to Aug. 23, 2023 are unaffected. Bus transportation for general education students will only be provided to the designated schools for students still residing in Lahaina.
For families who remain in Lahaina and are not able to take advantage of this option, the Department is working on plans to offer community-based learning activities in West Maui, but families are advised that programming will not look like traditional education provided in schools.
Reopening efforts and the exploration of alternate sites in West Maui are continuing. As of this week, Lahainaluna High, Lahaina Intermediate and Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary remain closed to staff, students and volunteers. The Department is awaiting results of environmental testing to be sure that the air, water and soil are safe to reopen. The King Kamehameha III Elementary campus was damaged beyond repair. Different reopening options include temporary relocation at Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena and/or alternate sites in West Maui.
Staff at all four public schools in Lahaina remain on paid administrative leave through Friday, Aug. 25 as clean up and safety assessments continue at Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate and Lahainaluna High. Starting Monday, Aug. 28, staff from King Kamehameha III Elementary, Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate and Lahainaluna High should expect to report to a centralized off-site location in West Maui that will be determined soon. The goal is to help staff transition back to work — providing access to Office of Talent Management representatives, mental health training and services, and discussions surrounding next steps. Schools will be communicating additional details and information directly with staff.
The Lahaina school principals and HIDOE personnel are organizing a family and community meeting to share additional information and address questions and concerns on Wednesday, Aug. 30. Details will be forthcoming.
Families and staff who are facing internet challenges and who need assistance can call the Department’s support hotline at 808-727-6880, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.