Lahaina public schools expected to open after fall break, pending environmental clearances

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Lahainaluna High School damage during wildfire event. PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Education (8.15.23)

Hawai‘i State Department of Education Superintendent Keith Hayashi announced today that the Department has set a tentative goal of welcoming students back to the three West Maui campuses after fall break in mid-October. The announcement came at a Lahaina school-level staff convening.

“The health and safety of our students and staff remains our highest priority in our plans to reopen campuses,” Superintendent Hayashi said. “This is a very fluid situation and things may still change; however, we know that a tentative reopening timeline will help with planning and bring some stability for our staff, students and families during this very turbulent time.”

HIDOE’s fall break runs from Oct. 9 to 13, 2023. An exact date for students to return will depend on each school’s phased reopening schedule. 


Three of the HIDOE’s four Lahaina schools – Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate and Lahainaluna High – have been closed since the Aug. 8 wildfires as they undergo environmental assessments for air, water and soil quality, as well as ensuring stable power and sufficient broadband connectivity.

The state Department of Health has installed air quality sensors at the three campuses and will be installing additional devices in certain classrooms. The Department is also working with Maui County to evaluate water quality at the schools and has hired a contractor to conduct soil sampling. Before the schools reopen, professional cleaners will be hired to thoroughly clean the schools.

King Kamehameha III Elementary was damaged beyond repair during the Aug. 8 wildfire incident. PC: Wendy Osher (8.29.23)

The King Kamehameha III Elementary campus was damaged beyond repair. When students reopen after fall break, the Department is planning for King Kamehameha III Elementary students and staff to share a campus with Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary. The Department is also planning for a future temporary site for the school while long term plans are being made.

King Kamehameha III Elementary was damaged beyond repair during the Aug. 8 wildfire incident. A sign at the campus stands while the structures are charred and gutted. PC: Wendy Osher (8.29.23)

As the Department actively pursues reopening after fall break, families have the following options:

  • Families looking for an in-person learning option may temporarily enroll at designated schools in Central and South Maui, with bus transportation from and to Lāhainā to be provided by the Department, with dedicated support staff on board.
  • The Department’s State Distance Learning Program is currently accepting applications at Families may register for the State Kaiapuni (Hawaiian immersion) Distance Learning Program at

For the week of Sept. 5 to 8 (Sept. 4 is a state holiday), staff at all Lahaina schools are scheduled to be on administrative leave. This week, the Department brought together school-level staff together to offer resources and learn how best to support employees.

PC/Graphic: Maui Now

Maui families and community members are invited to meet with principals of Lahaina public schools and HIDOE leaders to share input and discuss the latest updates for reopening schools and providing educational opportunities in West Maui. Both meetings will be held tomorrow, Aug. 30 and will be open to the public at the following locations and times:


Overflow parking for Citizen Church will be available at the Old Bay Course Clubhouse in Kapalua, formerly Pineapple Grill (200 Kapalua Drive). Shuttles will be available from Kapalua to the church.


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