LIHUE — Unstable weather conditions kept Department of Education officials on their toes during the first day of school Monday.
In anticipation of a potential closure of the Hanalei Bridge, buses were placed on standby at Hanalei School and at Kapaa schools for students who live on the North Shore in Hanalei, Wainiha and Haena.
Officials monitored “unpredictable” river levels but even though the Hanalei River approached a height of almost 8 feet at one point during the day, the bridge remained open.
Kauai Area Complex superintendent William Arakaki sent out an email asking the community to stay alert and drive safely as students and staff traveled to and from schools.
“The safety of our students and staff is of our utmost concern,” he said.
All schools within the DOE started Monday with the exception of those in the West Complex, as well as some adjustments in Kapaa and Central complexes.
“We’re OK,” said Koloa Elementary School Principal Leila Kobayashi. “We were predicted to have 305 students and we opened with 310. We hope they all stay. Opening was super smooth. We had a big welcome assembly for everyone, and by 8:15 a.m., teachers were already teaching. It was amazing.”
Zariah Fernandez, a fifth-grade student at Koloa School, said the first day was pretty good.
“We don’t have homework yet,” she said. “But we’re supposed to read tomorrow.”
The West Complex Schools — Eleele Elementary School, Kalaheo Elementary School, Kekaha Elementary School, Waimea Canyon Middle School, and Waimea High School — will not be in session, Arakaki wrote in an email.
The West Complex Schools have a planning and collaboration day, Aug. 5. The West Complex schools open to students from Tuesday. All other schools are in session. The middle and high schools have different grade levels attending during the week of Aug. 5 through 9.
Kapaa High School hosted an orientation for its freshman class on Monday. Similarly, Kapaa Middle School hosted an orientation for its incoming sixth-grade students, as well as new students entering seventh grade. All grades report to school today.