BOE resolution concerns parents, union

HONOLULU — There were mixed feelings regarding the state Board of Education’s resolution on the opening of schools for the 2021-22 school year during the board’s virtual meeting on Thursday.

The resolution encourages vaccination in public schools and communities, communicating with families on school-safety measures, offering distance-learning options, and relying on the state Department of Health for advice and guidance on all COVID-19-related health matters.

In the proposal to the board, BOE Chairperson Catherine Payne said she believes that in-person instruction remains the preferred instructional-delivery method for most students, and that COVID-19 vaccination is an important key to get as many students and teachers as possible back in physical classrooms quickly and safely.

Payne pointed out that one of the most significant changes from last year is the availability of effective COVID-19 vaccinations for individuals over the age of 12.

According to Payne, the BOE nor state Department of Education have the authority to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for students to attend school, which is the purview of the state Department of Health.

“I believe, however, that it is important for the board to encourage schools and their communities to vaccinate as many people as possible to help us bring our students and staff back into the classrooms quickly and safely,” Payne said.

In order for public schools and communities to break barriers to vaccination, Payne suggested hosting mobile-vaccination sites to provide access, sharing personal stories, and ensuring vaccination information is distributed in languages common to the school community while educating students, families and communities about vaccination.

“I would like to encourage schools to reach out to families, particularly those that are reluctant to send their children back to a school campus, to explain what the schools are doing to ensure the health and safety of their children,” Payne said.

“There are still families who are not comfortable with sending their children to a school campus, or whose children have performed well in a distance-learning setting,” Payne said. “I want to ensure that as many students as possible have an option in public education and are not forced to exit the public-education system.”

The Hawai‘i State Teachers Association wrote a letter in support of the board’s resolution, with a recommendation.

“HSTA also supports the BOE, DOE and public charter schools seeking out the best and most-reliable health guidance as it relates to the response to COVID-19,” HSTA President Corey Rosenlee said. “However, HSTA recommends in addition to seeking guidance from the Hawai‘i State Department of Health, the DOE should also seek guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

One year ago, Rosemarie Jauch of Kalaheo moved to Kaua‘i with her 11-year-old daughter from Arizona in hopes of finding a school that would consistently stay open and provide accommodations for her child’s learning needs.

“She has ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). And it took me two years to go through all of the evaluations. I finally got it in Tucson,” Jauch said.

As Jauch moved to Kaua‘i in March of 2020, private schools on island had waitlists, which left her with few options for her daughter. However, Jauch selected Alaka‘i O Kaua‘i Charter School.

“Strictly on the basis of they were open face-to-face,” Jauch said. “And then they shuttered. A child that has (ADHD), no any child, you can’t plop them in front of a computer for five hours a day and expect any learning to happen. So I would say that distance learning is a complete and utter failure.”

Kristin Matsuda of Lihu‘e, a mother of three children in public schools, also expressed her frustrations.

“Discontinue both the mentally and any structure/administrative mechanism that requires statewide rules for COVID and schools,” Matsuda said. “Communication with parents would be nice if it actually occurred, and if the information were accurate.”

4 Comments
  1. Kristin Matsuda June 20, 2021 8:33 am Reply

    If you want to appreciate the volume of opposition BOE received to its proposed goals (and none of those four goals included returning to full-time, in-person education after over a year without it for middle/high school), go to: https://boe.hawaii.gov/Meetings/Notices/Meeting%20Material%20Library/2021-06-17%20GBM%20Testimony.pdf.
    If this link doesn’t work, go to https://boe.hawaii.gov/Meetings/Notices/Pages/June-17,-2021-General-Business-Meeting-(Virtual).aspx. Scroll down the page half way to “written testimonies,” click on those purple words to access the .pdf.
    My testimony criticized this “mentality” that the islands must be in solidarity with Oah’u on school policy. That needs to end, but it won’t solve this problem of continued, total resistance at every level of public ed to reverse course on any COVID regs (masks, in-person education, 6-ft distancing, etc). BOE, DOE, CAS Zina, as agencies and individuals, need to be held accountable for their awful decisions: They are not immune from liability should their heavily hyped/advertised/promoted vaccines result in an adverse reaction to a child; they are responsible for the wrongful death of any desperate child who – shut out from school for over a year – committed suicide. They are liable for committing negligent and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress for every kid in public ed who had to seek professional help to address depression, suicidal ideation, etc. They are responsible for your child feeling as if s/he needs an F to get back in school b/c a D was not considered sufficiently “failing” to warrant in-person education, or that going to school where teachers don’t teach to you, but to the screen, is acceptable. This all could have been averted and, in Kauai, avoided completely; BOE/DOE just wants to continue this status quo. Attorneys – even those in HI – take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to protect their cronies in government and at DOE. HI firms may want to start picking up the phone when parents call, as the only remaining state of “emergency” in HI stems from the abuse DOE/BOE and our government wants to continue to levy upon our kids.


  2. RGLadder37 June 20, 2021 9:34 am Reply

    O yeah. DOE and athletics. Robert Kekaula kitv4 news sports guy died Saturday. Why? Because he never made it out after he took the coronavirus vaccine. One of 3. I think the Moderna.

    Up and coming season at UH Ching field.

    Honolulu, Hi


  3. RGLadder37 June 20, 2021 9:55 am Reply

    The talk of the town in Honolulu is how he died? Robert Kekaula. I think when it comes down to UH football, the policy is to get vaccinated. But in its infancy stages is the vaccine. 20 to 30 years before the polio vaccine was legit. The coronavirus is just beginning.

    It’s like Nova Scotia. Sept 2, 1998 airplane crash Swiss air. Can you really blame policy? The captain was really lost and had no sense of vision. Cannot land the airplane. Policy is to get training. They had none. Even after years in the business.

    Robert Kekaula was a walking time bomb to explode. Finally. An aerotic valve burst. And he dies. It was bound to happen. Still policy?


  4. Ok June 20, 2021 4:40 pm Reply

    You know what would
    Help….if you folks would report facts. The “vaccine” push is ridiculous. Kids are virtually immune from covid causing death in the 1-17yr old range. However nothing long term clearly has been able to be reported on the emergency use mRNA therapeutic that only have emergency use authorization. It’s absolutely irresponsible and abhorrent the push from boe to mass vaccinate children.


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