DOE releases plan for neighbor island public schools

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — With one week left until school starts, the Department of Education (DOE) announced Tuesday, most neighbor island public schools will follow Oahu and start the school year with four weeks of distance learning.

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The DOE has set up a three-phase plan for distance learning at the beginning of the school year.

The first phase takes place when school starts Aug. 17- Aug. 20. During this phase, students will return to campus to connect with their teachers and train to use the distance learning platforms.

In the second phase Aug. 24 – Sep. 11, students will start distance learning from home.

In the third phase, Sept. 14, the DOE is planning for students to return to school using a blended learning model.

All Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii county public schools will be following this schedule.

However, Maui County has different plans depending on the school.

Lanai High and Elementary and schools in the Lahaina Complex will have distance learning for the entire first quarter of school.

For some schools in Molokai and Hana, distance learning isn’t an option due to lack of devices or connection to the internet.

Schools on Molokai will have face-to-face and blended learning.

Hana High and Elementary School will have face-to-face learning for kindergarten to fifth grade and a hybrid model for older grades.

“[School officials] have assured me that the in-class physical distancing for those particular areas will occur, and they’re going to take the safety and health and well-being of those students as paramount,” said Maui Mayor Mike Victorino.

He said blended learning will continue for students that have the connection and devices. Those that don’t have devices can request to borrow one from their school. For students who don’t have connection to the internet, the DOE is also providing another option.

“Those students that do not have internet access, they would be able to come to the school campus and be assigned a space to do distance learning from the school campus,” said Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto.

She said they will also be setting up hubs so students who don’t have internet access at home can access it.

In-person specification services will also be available for students who receive special education. Families can reach out to their school to set this up.

The DOE said it will be watching the COVID-19 numbers to decide if blended learning can continue on Sept. 14. They say an announcement will be made Sept. 8, but additional plans are being made in the meantime.

“Leaders will be assessing their plans for the rest of the quarter, and some of them are already talking about whether they should look at a quarter long distance learning approach,” said Kishimoto. “I am encouraging them to come up with their plans.”

Mayor Victorino is asking parents do what they can to aid in their child’s learning during this time.

“I would hope that parents get informed on what their schools are doing and make sure they understand the procedures and policies, that they would assist their children in this distance learning opportunity. [They] need to be a part of the educational system too.”

Mayor Mike Victorino

For more information, you can visit the Hawaii Department of Education website here.

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