LĀHAINĀ — Lāhaināluna High School faculty and staff welcomed approximately 700 students back to their home campus today for the first time in more than two months since the Maui wildfires.
The school day started off with morning piko, or protocol, in the gym with an emotional assembly that included song, chant, a student tribute, and singing of the alma mater.
“So far this morning, energy has been great. We just finished our morning piko, where we recognized what we’ve been through and celebrated being back,” Lāhaināluna Principal Richard Carosso said. “Today’s the first day of Homecoming Week, and it couldn’t be more fitting that we’ve come home.”
The school has homecoming activities planned throughout the week, culminating with the Lunas first home football game on Saturday against Baldwin High.
"It's been really nice ... to see all my friends. This campus brings back a lot of good memories from last year. It's good to come back to that, for sure," Lāhaināluna senior and student-athlete Teva Loft.
Lāhaināluna had been operating as a school-within-a-school at the Kūlanihāko‘i High campus in Kihei for the past month. The high school is the first of the Lāhainā campuses to physically reopen to students this week.
Lāhainā Intermediate students are scheduled to return to campus Tuesday, and King Kamehameha III and Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary students are set to return Wednesday. Students and staff from King Kamehameha III will be sharing campus facilities with Nāhi‘ena‘ena until a temporary school site at Pulelehua near Kapalua Airport opens. High-quality tent structures have been installed at Nāhi‘ena‘ena to add classroom spaces that are equipped with air conditioning and laminate floors.
“It’s about those rituals and routines that the students are coming back to and are a part of that really brings everything together for Lāhaināluna,” Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “And I know it will be the same for Lāhainā Intermediate, Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary, and students, faculty and staff from King Kamehameha III.”
Hayashi noted that the Department has taken numerous steps to ensure the safety of the Lāhainā schools, including extensive environmental testing of soil and drinking water, which have come back safe; professional cleaning of all interior and exterior spaces; access to a network of air quality monitors installed by the state Department of Health and U.S. EPA outside all of the schools to detect fine particulate matter; bi-weekly wipe tests in classrooms to test for any particles settling on surfaces. A progress report of reopening efforts, including test results, are posted at bit.ly/LahainaSchoolsProgressReport.
The Department has also developed health and safety guidance with the Department of Health that outlines actions the schools will take whenever there are changes in the air quality: bit.ly/ReopeningSafetyGuidance.