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BOE approves Aug. 17 start date for public school students

The Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) took action today to approve an Aug. 17 start date for Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) students. 

With consensus from the labor unions representing school staff, the delay allows for nine additional days of staff training before students return. Teachers reported back to work yesterday, July 29. 

“This issue has divided our community amid these uncertain times. There are no perfect answers. We acknowledge this move effectively delays student instruction, and we are fully committed to preparing our schools to safely welcome students back on Aug. 17,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “I thank our families for their understanding as well as our principals for their tremendous work in coordinating the readiness of their schools.”

The additional training days will include HIDOE-mandated training topics on health and safety, and instructional and student support.

If they haven’t already, parents are encouraged to contact their child’s school to select a learning option for school year 2020-21. This will help schools as they plan for distance learning and a mix of face-to-face instruction models. Student counts will guide staffing decisions, classroom arrangements and other procedures to ensure the safety of everyone on campus.

Additional training modules for HIDOE staff will be posted to the Department’s website tomorrow, July 31. You will be notified via e-blast once the modules are available.

As the COVID-19 situation evolves or as new health guidance becomes available, HIDOE will adjust its Return to Learn: School Reopening Plan to ensure that a safe learning and working environment is provided for students, teachers and staff. Updates about the school year will continue to be posted on the Department’s website and social media platforms (FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn).

The Board postponed a decision on waiving the statutory requirement that the 2020-21 school year include 180 instructional days, and will revisit the topic at a later date.