HONOLULU (KHON2) — A viewer reached out to KHON2 after noticing a long line of cars on Salt Lake Boulevard from parents waiting to pick up their kids from school.
The viewer said it was not only an inconvenience, it could also be dangerous.
The parents wait up to an hour to turn into Makalapa Elementary School.
Tiffany D’Amato is a parent who usually shows up an hour before her kids are dismissed in order to avoid being among the last in line.
She said this was not always the case. COVID-19 social distancing protocol changed how students are picked up to avoid gatherings.
“It’s because of COVID, last year the kids that were pick up were able to go out to the pick up area,” D’Amato said. “This year they have to wait until their numbers are called, so the pick up is not as quick but the school is doing it to keep the kids safe.”
Parents are only allowed to enter the drop-off and pick-up location once the dismissal bell rings.
A Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson said the school is using a new software system called iDismiss to control social distancing as students are picked up. The parent or guardian who is picking up the student will provide a code to staff at the front gate, which alerts staff in the classroom to dismiss the student.
This system keeps students socially distanced, but it also causes the long line of cars that go in both directions on Salt Lake Boulevard.
The DOE spokesperson said the school is already maximizing its drop-off and pick-up site in order to allow the greatest number of cars to enter campus and get them off the road. The DOE says it will remind parents and work with HPD to address reports of cars lining up early or blocking traffic.
KHON2 also reached out to the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) to address the viewer’s concerns.
An HPD spokesperson said in statement, “HPD has not received complaints about traffic from the general public. We encourage parents to work with school officials on a pick-up arrangement that is safe for the students and their families.”
The DOE reminds motorists and neighbors to be aware of increasing traffic during the mornings and afternoons as more students return to in-person learning.