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HIDOE: Instruction may resume April 7

By Staff | Mar 24, 2020

HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced it will keep all public schools closed for a total of three weeks to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Closing our schools will help safeguard the health of our children, teachers, staff and surrounding communities as we fight against the spread of COVID-19,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “We appreciate the support and commitment of our public school ‘ohana as we collectively navigate these uncharted waters.”

Board of Education Chairwoman Catherine Payne added, “Our entire state must band together to combat community spread of the virus, and school closures are an important part of the response. We will work closely with the department and our federal partners to ensure that education requirements continue to be met and students have access to such essential services as meals.”

All public and charter schools will remain closed to students through April 6, following the extended spring break period. Barring any future changes, return dates will be staggered as follows: April 3 – Custodians, principals and administrators return to work; April 4-5 (weekend) – Custodians continue deep cleaning of campuses; April 6 – Teachers return to work to prepare classrooms; April 7 – Students return to school.

During the extended closure, HIDOE will continue to provide student meals, including providing grab-and-go breakfast and lunch at select schools to children 18 years and under at the following days and times: Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 8 a.m. for breakfast, and Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. for lunch. Meals will not be served on Thursday, March 26 in observance of Prince Kuhio Day. The Maui County pickup sites are Lahaina Intermediate, Hana High & Elementary, Kahului Elementary, Kalama Intermediate, Lanai High School and Molokai High.

The locations were selected based on criteria, including a high number of students eligible for the Free and Reduced Price Lunch Program and geography. HIDOE is monitoring the situation and may add additional sites.

Following earlier guidance, the department canceled or postponed events involving large groups. Graduation ceremonies, which are normally held in mid-to-late May, have not yet been modified, and any necessary scheduling changes will be announced at a future date.

In the event there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 involving an individual in a HIDOE school community, the department will not be issuing a notification. This outreach will be done by the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) in order to avoid any potential Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations.

HIDOE encourages those who are concerned to consult with their health care provider and continue to monitor the DOH website for updates at www.hawaiicovid19.com.

Additional information and HIDOE COVID-19 updates will continue to be posted on the department’s website at hawaiipublicschools.org.