The Department of Education is extending spring break for one week out of concerns for the coronavirus.
Gov. David Ige announced the change today during a news conference about new cases of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, in Hawaii. The extension includes the Kuhio Day holiday and would mean four additional days off for students.
Students are now scheduled to return to school on March 30, which is subject to change depending on conditions, Ige said. When classes resume, school officials will look at implementing some social distancing measures, he said.
“We know how important our public schools are to our community,” Ige said. “We know that we are committed to having a safe, stable place for our children during this time. We know there is tremendous impact when a school or schools close.”
Across the nation, officials in New York City, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Oregon announced the schools in their states would be temporarily closed for several weeks due to concerns arising from the coronavirus outbreak.
Ige said the state was trying to keep public schools open because of the cascading impacts from school closures, such as parents needing to find alternative childcare for their children.
Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said in a statement today: “Throughout this crisis, the health and safety of our members and our keiki are our paramount concern. The Hawaii State Teachers Association will continue to advocate to make sure our schools provide an environment that is conducive to learning.
“During this process, HSTA will work with the HIDOE, the governor, and other partners to make sure we provide a learning experience that takes care of the needs of our keiki, and is equitable and enriching,” he said, using the acronym for the Hawaii Department of Education. “There are many unanswered questions and HSTA stands ready to act decisively to protect our keiki’s best interests and our members’ collective bargaining rights.”
Watch Ige’s news conference on coronavirus in Hawaii and the extension of spring break here: