HANALEI — Backpacks lined the edges of classrooms at Hanalei School once again on Monday as the Department of Education welcomed kids back to class after record-breaking rains caused flooding throughout Hanalei.
The school was closed for four days and though kids are back in class, caution tape still ropes off the lawn areas where they play until the ground has dried out and been exposed to sun for several days, according to the DOE.
That’s thanks to guidance from the Department of Health Waste Water Branch.
Crews were sent by the DOE on April 19 to assess the campus environment as floodwater affected portables, depositing bacteria-laced mud into the classrooms.
Those were cleaned by school staff and parents, along with the help of the community over the weekend so school could resume on Monday.
“We thank Principal Tahara’a Stein, teachers and staff, parents, business, community supporters, HIDOE and other agencies for their efforts in working together in helping the school reopen,” said Bill Arakaki, Kauai Complex Area Superintendent in a release about the cleanup.
School bus service will resume operation for students residing in Hanalei who attend Hanalei Elementary, Kapaa Middle and Kapaa High schools. Bus service for students living in Waikomo, Wainiha and Haena remains temporarily suspended and will resume when Kuhio Highway reopens.
Monday, Arakaki declined to comment on the opening of the school, saying the DOE needed more time to get their ducks in a row before talking to the press about the first day back.
The school was bustling with activity on Monday, however, as teachers settled their students back into class and staff members were setting up satellite classes for students still on the other side of the multiple landslides that cover Kuhio Highway past Hanalei.
A satellite campus will be set up at the Hanalei Colony Resort for 39 students in Haena/Wainiha who are not able to access Hanalei School campus.
“Students who were impacted by the floods at their homes will not be penalized for attendance issues during this time, and the school will work with them and their parents to make sure that all academic requirements are still met,” Arakaki said in a statement.
Jessica Else, environmental reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.