Some disappointed only Oahu public schools will begin solely online

Some disappointed only Oahu public schools will begin solely online
State officials say they are trying to keep kids off campus for several more weeks, coinciding with the partial lock down on Oahu (Source: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu public schools are planning to start the fall semester on Aug. 17 with online learning, but the plan for Neighbor Island campuses isn’t yet hammered out.

The HSTA wanted the move to online learning to be a statewide one, but the governor made the call.

“I know that keeping students at home will be another burden and clearly, the uncertainty stresses all of us. But this recent surge on Oahu, I do believe that this is the right approach,” Gov. David Ige said.

Oahu’s public schools make up two-thirds of the statewide enrollment, with about 114,000 students.

Students will have to go to campus at least once in the first week to get connected.

Students without good equipment or WiFi for distance learning will be allowed on campus to use the computers. Children with disabilities will also be welcome. Some schools even added more resources.

“There are cases in which there might be a nurse present in the classroom,” said Ewa Makai Middle School Special Education teacher Joshua Klaassen.

Neighbor island schools are still scheduled to welcome students back to campus Aug. 17, and that’s making some nervous, including Maui Mayor Mike Victorino.

“I still think opening up on August 17th, to live class as well as whatever distance learning or rotational system that they’re putting in place, still poses a real challenge in my mind,” he said.

Some neighbor island teachers also feel they should have been included in the decision.

“I was hoping, and a lot of my colleagues as well were hoping that it was going to be pushed back because we are an entire state, we’re the state of Hawaii. So, we thought it was just going to be for all islands,” said one Big Island kindergarten teacher who asked remain anonymous.

The Department has launched an Ohana Help Desk to provide service and chat support for families.

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