Maui Coronavirus Updates

O‘ahu Public School on Complete Distance Learning for First Four Weeks

August 7, 2020, 2:30 PM HST
* Updated August 8, 1:01 PM
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Governor David Ige is hosting a live press conference this afternoon with Hawaiʻi Schools Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto with the state Department of Education to discuss Oʻahu public school plans.

Public schools on Oʻahu will go to complete distance learning for students for the first four weeks of the new school year.  Schools will start on Oʻahu on Aug. 17 as previously announced.  This change does not effect existing plans on the neighbor islands.

Dr. Kishimoto said she would be meeting with neighbor island Complex Area Superintendents and their principal teams on Monday and Tuesday next week. “There was an urgency on Oʻahu given the number of case counts we were seeing here; but we will discuss whether or not the neighbor island superintendents and their district teams see a need to use a same four week distance learning design to start the school year,” said Dr. Kishimoto.

“Although we are a statewide system, we are making decisions by county to honor the fact that mayors want to have locally based considerations for their unique circumstances,” said Dr. Kishimoto.  “Once we have those conversations with district leaders, we will reach out to school level leaders as well.”

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Dr. Kishimoto unveiled a three phase approach for Oʻahu schools.

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Phase 1 is connection with students from Aug. 17-20.  During the first four days of school, students will physically return to school on a coordinated and scheduled basis.  This time will be used to connect with their teacher, practice learning on a distance learning platform and address issues with connectivity and access to technology. Starting on Aug. 17, Oʻahu cafeterias will be serving only grab-and-go meals; in-person dining will not be allowed. After-school programs will be suspended until students return to in-person blended learning models.

Phase 2 is ready learn via distance learning from Aug. 24-Sept 11.  This phase continues for four weeks.   All employees will report to their worksite and continue to provide instruction in distance learning models.  For students who do not have wifi access, there will be limited supervised in-person learning labs at school.  “Essentially they will be doing their distance learning from school until they can access wifi from home,” said Dr. Kishimoto.  For special needs students, services that cannot be provided via distance learning, will be available at the school.

Phase 3 is a transition to blended learning starting on Sept. 14.  The DOE will work with the governor’s office and the Department of Health to assess if Oahu students can safely return to in-person blended learning models. If distance learning must continue for the remainder of the first quarter, an announcement will be made on Sept. 8.

Aug. 17 remains the official start date for all HIDOE students. Neighbor island school reopening plans will continue as planned, with blended learning models. All HIDOE buildings will remain open for faculty and staff, and employees will be expected to follow all health and safety protocols.

Earlier this week the Department announced the launch of the Ohana Help Desk to provide self-service and chat support for families experiencing issues connecting to HIDOE systems remotely from home.

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