The Hawaii Department of Education sent a letter to faculty and parents today informing them that all school-related travel to the U.S. mainland and international destinations will be canceled for the rest of the year due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“In light of the evolving COVID-19 situation, we need to take additional precautionary steps to ensure the health and well-being of our school communities,” said superintendent Christina Kishimoto in the letter. “As such, HIDOE is canceling all school and Department-related travel to the U.S. mainland and international destinations until the end of the 2019-2020 school year, effective March 12.”
The announcement comes days after several private schools, including Punahou School and ‘Iolani School, announced cancellations in travel plans to the U.S. mainland and international destinations as well.
Kishimoto noted there are school trips scheduled to depart Hawaii on March 11, which would not be bound by the cancellations. For those trips, parents have the right to modify their travel plans, accordingly, but should notify the child’s school immediately.
Making this last minute decision is a personal one, and travel costs already incurred may not be reimbursable. Families, schools and complex areas are encouraged to discuss the possibility of rescheduling or reimbursement with ther travel partners.
“We did not make this decision lightly knowing the impact it will have on our school communities; however, the safety of our students and staff is our highest priority,” she said.
The DOE will continue to provide COVID-19 updates at hawaiipublicschools.org.