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Lahaina school employees start work Monday, students’ return date unclear

Educators and staff of Lahaina’s public schools will begin on Monday to report for work at a “centralized off-site location in West Maui,” the state Department of Education announced today, but it remains unclear when students will be able return to the three campuses still standing after the wildfires.

Employees of King Kamehameha III Elementary, Princess Nahienaena Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate and Lahainaluna High schools have been on paid leave since their campuses closed Aug. 8. Their paid administrative leave extended through Friday, the DOE said.

Starting Monday, they “should expect to report to a centralized off-site location in West Maui that will be determined soon,” the DOE news release said. “The goal is to help staff transition back to work — providing access to (DOE Office of Talent Management) representatives, mental health training and services, and discussions surrounding next steps. Schools will be communicating additional details and information directly with staff.”

State Schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi said in the release: “I want to again reassure our Lahaina employees that your well-being remains our priority. The voices of our Lahaina educators and staff will play an important part as we develop a way forward that best serves students.”

Clean up and safety assessments are continuing at Princess Nahienaena Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate and Lahainaluna High schools, the DOE said. Those campuses remain closed to students and staff, and employees who want to go onto a campus are required to obtain express prior authorization. King Kamehameha III Elementary was damaged beyond repair, officials have said.

While the campuses are closed and school phone lines are down, families and staff who need assistance but are having difficulty getting access to the internet can call the DOE’s support hotline at 808-727-6880 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. A department representative will provide information and next steps related to schools, enrollment and resources.

Families and staff who have internet connection are encouraged to visit the West Maui School Resources webpage.

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