Gov. Ige: Spring break for public schools extended, classes to resume on March 30

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The State is giving all public and charter school students another week off for spring break. Classes will resume on March 30.

This includes all public schools, charter schools, track schools, A+, and early learning classrooms. Federally funded Head Start and Pre-Plus will also be following the State’s lead and closing. State officials will be monitoring the situation and making further announcements in the weeks ahead.

This gives schools more time to prepare for the impacts of COVID-19. You will see a lot of more students on Spring Break because the modified schedule also includes schools with multi-track schedules to go off track. The State says the additional time is for planning social distancing and cleaning classrooms.

“Those areas that have lots of contacts with students, obviously student desks, but even beyond that the high touch points on every area will be looked at,” said Governor David Ige. “It really is about changing how schools conduct classes, virtually everything they do will be evaluated.”

But what about children who rely on free and reduced lunches during the extended break? For some kids, school is where they get their only meal.

“We are asking our food services to take a look a plan that ensures we are reaching out to the students that do rely on our breakfast and lunch program and ensure that our children are not going hungry,” said Deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami.

In a statement from Corey Rosenlee, President of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, regarding the Spring Break extension he says:

“Throughout this crisis, the health and safety of our members and our keiki are our paramount concern. The Hawaii State Teachers Association will continue to advocate to make sure our schools provide an environment that is conducive to learning. During this process, HSTA will work with the HIDOE, the governor, and other partners to make sure we provide a learning experience that takes care of the needs of our keiki, and is equitable and enriching. There are many unanswered questions and HSTA stands ready to act decisively to protect our keiki’s best interests and our members’ collective bargaining rights.”

Corey Rosenlee, President of the Hawaii State Teachers Association

As for the Spring Break programs that run on some school campuses, Kamaaina Kids tell us as of right now it’s business as usual starting Monday.

In a statement, Kamaaina Kids says:

“There are discussions with principals about alternate places should the public schools not want to house the program, for the most part, we have had partnerships with these schools and principals for years and all of us understand the importance of supporting the children and the families.”

The organization says about 12-hundred kids statewide have enrolled this Spring and it will be following guidelines by keeping programs at 50 kids and below.

Kamaaina Kids also says it is “modifying our spring Intersession programs to be 100% on site activities (such as arts & crafts, games, fun with food, and simple science). All scheduled excursions for the spring program have been cancelled, out of an abundance of caution. Program hours remain as scheduled, at this time.”

“We know that when we disrupt students children’s normal routine it creates trauma and we do not want to add that,” said Unebasami. “Our goal is not necessary to cancel schools it is about how do we continue to educate and support our families and students. It may look different than what we traditionally do.”

There are no announcements made yet to modify graduation ceremonies normally held in May.

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