COVID-19 Public School Hopes:
Given the continuing pandemic and reports of inconsistent health protocols, we urge the Hawaii DOE (HIDOE) to:
- Provide safe conditions for students and teachers.
Hawai‘i public school board, administrators, teachers, and families are all working to achieve safe conditions for our students. There is great concern that “essential protocols” announced for the school year are not consistently met in all classrooms and schools. with the increase of COVID-19 infections, the “additional mitigating” protocols in the HIDOE plan are needed, in addition to the “essential protocols”.
- Spend emergency funds ensuring compliance with safety protocols and contact tracing needs.
Many teachers, students, and families are concerned about unsafe conditions. Additional efforts are needed, including scheduling changes to enable effective social distancing during all parts of the school day, shortening notice times of positive tests to reduce spread, increasing contact tracing, and enhancements in ventilation and outdoor classes.
- Deliver in-person, blended/hybrid, and fully distance learning options to Hawai`i families.
During the pandemic, it has become clear that families and individual students have diverse needs regarding learning differences and physical and mental health,. Many families seek blended/hybrid or distance learning options for the health and success of their students and families. These options are not currently available to all families at their schools or in their complex areas. Students in some distance learning programs do not have enough teacher contact to assure successful learning and health outcomes.
- Negotiate work agreements with teachers to reflect current needs.
Given the continuing health threats to teachers, students, and families, the needs for diverse education delivery continues. Our HIDOE and our teachers need to create an agreement that supplements the current teacher contract. Such an agreement should specify flexibility that will allow our valuable teachers to meet their health needs and the learning needs of students in diverse ways.
- Plan for any eventuality: develop systems that support effective two-way communication, leverage the talent and knowledge of our own teachers, and streamline operations.
Families are disappointed that the HIDOE did not create an alternate plan for the 2021-22 school year if full return to in-person school was not possible. The HIDOE is challenged to develop effective and integrated systems for teaching and learning, communications, and system operations. Families have not consistently experienced two-way communication that is needed to cope with unpredictable changes. The HIDOE has not fully implemented a student information system that can enhance communication and streamline teacher records. A fully integrated learning management system that enables teachers to create, store and deploy their instruction for in-person, hybrid, or distance learning is needed. To date, the HIDOE and our students have had to rely on purchased programs that do not leverage our teachers’ curricula or their interactions with students. Though only 31% of our teachers had taught online before the pandemic, many have developed important skills that can be more fully developed and supported with the right tools and system. The HIDOE just released a request for proposals for such an integrated learning management system. We hope this request will be answered and implemented, enabling strategic planning and improved system complex area, school, family communications going forward.
Covid Public School petition - please sign if you share these hopesRead the Petition