HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As parents await details on how (or whether) public schools will offer in-person instruction in the fall, the Education Department confirmed one thing Monday: The new school year will begin August 4 for all public schools, including those on multi-track schedules.
Hawaii has three multi-track schools ― Mililani Middle, Kapolei Middle and Holomua Elementary in Ewa Beach ― that traditionally operate with students on staggered schedules.
At any one time, one “track” of students is off while two others are on.
But the state Education Department said Monday that it wouldn’t be following the multi-track system during the first semester of the 2020-21 school year.
Instead, all schools will follow the same calendar.
“The shift to a single-track system will provide some relief for families having to plan ahead for childcare as the state starts to reopen,” said deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami said.
“We have heard from numerous families, especially those who have children attending a multi-track and single-track school, about the inconvenience of coordinating childcare due to the multi-track schedule.”
The DOE, however, hasn’t confirmed yet how in-person instruction will be offered for students in an age of social distancing.
(The superintendent has suggested that elementary students would return to school campuses first.)
In its news release announcing the suspension of multi-track schedules, the DOE said it’s eyeing different instructional models and will likely offer a “blended approach, providing in-classroom learning that follows health and safety guidelines as well as distance learning opportunities for families that can and want to take advantage of that program.”