HDOE still finalizing plans for fall but says distance learning will continue for some


Correction: Our original report stated that distance learning would continue for students in grades 6 through 12 with access to internet and a computer. The Department of Education said instead that the DOE is looking at a blended approach with distance learning options available. The correction has been made in the story.            

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Students are scheduled to return to school August 4. What adjustments will they make to welcome students back into the classroom after the global pandemic forced schools to shutter in March?

Social distancing, protective masks, online learning, school buses and transportation– What will school look like for students returning this fall?

In a Hawaii Department of Education COVID-19 update Tuesday, Dr. Christina Kishimoto said HDOE is still in the process of collecting data needed in order to finalize their plans.

The DOE is looking at a blended approach with distance learning options available. Accommodations will be made for students without access or those who have special needs.

Hawaii state teachers association president Corey Rosenlee has concerns.

“What’s going to happen to a parent that just refuses to send their child, who is in elementary, to school? What’s going to be provided for them?” Rosenlee questioned.

Kishimoto said they will know more in the next six weeks, and they are working with the Department of Health and following CDC guidelines developing their strategy.

Another concern, whether or not school days will be cut.

Kishimoto stressed that the DOE “wants to avoid furloughs to the greatest extent possible” and they “want to make sure they have 180 instructional days.”

But she also acknowledged the enormous budget shortfall due to COVID-19 and recognized the challenges it poses. She is urging parents to reach out to lawmakers to make sure schools are funded.

“The most important thing, by far, is making sure our teachers, our staff and our keiki are healthy and safe,” Rosenlee said. “That’s got to be the number one priority. South Korea opened up their schools and immediately there was a breakout and they had to close them again. That doesn’t help anyone.”

Kishimoto said the DOE is creating a website for parents and students that should be up and running soon. She encouraged parents to contact their area superintendent with questions and concerns.

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