Progress Reports: Reopening Lahaina Schools


Progress reports for reopening three Lahaina schools: Lahainaluna High, Lahaina Intermediate and Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena. Updates will be provided as pertinent information is available.


On Aug. 8, 2023, the day before public schools in Lahaina were set to welcome students back after summer break, a wildfire mixed with hurricane-force winds tore through the town and took hundreds of homes and at least 101 lives. The fire also consumed one of the four public schools in West Maui — King Kamehameha III Elementary — and displaced over 3,000 students in the town.

Immediately after the deadly fires, the Lahaina campuses were physically closed for two weeks. Over the course of two months, the HIDOE offered alternative education options for students that included distance learning, learning hubs at community spaces, and shared campuses with nearby schools while awaiting clearance to safely reopen the surviving three campuses in Lahaina.

After extensive cleaning and environmental testing and in collaboration with the state Department of Health, the HIDOE determined it was safe to reopen the three Lahaina campuses for full, in-person learning following fall break in October 2023.

The displaced students and staff of King Kamehameha III Elementary temporarily shared facilities with another elementary campus in West Maui in portable tent structures for four months while the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) constructed a temporary replacement campus, which opened to students in April 2024.

Wipe Tests

The Department has been working with environmental consulting company Ford & Associates to conduct bi-weekly wipe tests on floors, window sills and outside walkway surfaces of Lahaina classrooms to detect for lead and arsenic. The lab is able to detect as low as 1 μg/sq ft of lead and arsenic.

None of the samples taken as of April 2024 have returned results above the analytical methods' detection limit. However, Hawai‘i’s soils do have natural background levels of arsenic so with the highly sensitive 1 μg/sq ft detection limit, there is a possibility of future tests reporting background levels. 

The current EPA clearance standard for lead dust on building surfaces is 10 micrograms per square foot (μg/ft2) for floors and 100 μg/ft2 for window sills.  

Lahaina Wipe Test, May 13 (most recent)

Campus Status​

As the Department works with other agencies to safely reopen campuses, educational options are available for students and families: Lahaina employees will be temporarily assigned to other locations on September 14 or earlier, based on their preferences and schools’ needs. The target date for reopening school campuses to students is Monday, October 16, 2023.

Last updated: December 11



YellowIn progress

RedPending partner agency action



Air Quality - Green Air Quality

​Ensure safe air quality by installing sensors to meet Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) standards.

12-10-2023: DOH News Release - Lahaina ash characterization testing show elevated levels of toxic substances. No change in guidelines.

09-26-2023: DOH evaluated the results and indicated that that the school campuses are safe.

09-20-2023: View results publicly at

09-13-2023: External sensors installed at three schools* and results publicly reported ( 

Water Quality - Green Water Quality​

​Ensure water sources meet all DOH Safe Drinking Water Branch standards.

10-06-2023: Flushing of all water lines completed on Oct. 2 (standard procedure when campuses are closed for an extended period and water in the plumbing can become stagnant).

09-26-2023: DOH evaluated the results and indicated that that the school campuses are safe.

09-20-2023: Maui County Department of Water Supply water testing data shows "Non-Detect" for "All Volatile Compounds: The County conducted sampling and testing of water for Lahaina Intermediate and Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary, and at the water source for Lahainaluna High. Consulting with the DOH on results.

09-13-2023: Contracting independent firm to conduct water sampling in addition to initial testing by Maui County Department of Water Supply. Consulting with DOH.

Soil Testing - GreenSoil Testing​

​Ensure soil is safe when walking or playing on school grounds in accordance with DOH standards.

09-26-2023: DOH evaluated the results and indicated that that the school campuses are safe.

09-21-2023: Lab results from soil testing received from independent firm. Executive summary report. Consulting with DOH on results (correct link to soil results added 09-28-2023).

09-13-2023: ​Contracted independent firm to conduct soil sampling to detect the presence of heavy metals and dioxins. Soil samples taken and being tested at the lab.

Cleaning of Indoor Spaces - GreenCleaning of Indoor Spaces

​Ensure all interior spaces meet best practices of cleanliness and hygiene.

10-03-2023: Cleaning completed at all Lahaina schools.

09-26-2023: Cleaning completed at Lahaina Intermediate and Princess Nahienaena Elem. Cleaning continues at Lahainaluna High and should be complete by target return date.

09-13-2023: Contracted specialized professional cleaning firm to conduct through cleaning of interior spaces. Cleaning initiated at Lahaina Intermediate and Lahainaluna High.​

Facilities and Grounds - GreenFacilities and Grounds

​Ensure school grounds are deemed safe from debris and minor damages caused by high winds.

10-07-2023: Exterior cleaning of the three campuses completed between Oct. 3 and 5.

09-26-2023: Contractors will conduct external cleaning by target return date. 

09-13-2023: ​Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation and contractors cleared and removed debris caused by high winds. Contractors and HIDOE staff completed temporary repairs. Planning underway for HIDOE teams to prepare grounds.

Power - GreenPower

​Ensure stable electrical service to support full school operations.

​Maui Electric Co. restored power transmission to three schools.

Internet - GreenInternet

Ensure stable broadband communications with a minimum of 1G of bandwidth for connectivity to support instruction and business operations.

09-20-2023: Broadband connectivity restored at three schools.

09-13-2023: ​Broadband connectivity restored at Lahainaluna High. Limited connectivity at Lahaina Intermediate and Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary. 

Telephones - Greeb​Telephones

​Ensure stable telephone service.

10-03-2023: Phone service restored and lines are operational at all Lahaina schools.

09-13-2023: ​Phone lines for all schools are routed to voicemail and Communications Branch and Hotline staff are responding to questions. Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary and Lahaina Intermediate phones are operational. Lahainaluna High’s system will be operational by the target opening date. Hawaiian Telcom working on a temporary fix to enable the phone system for Lahainaluna High.

*Lahainaluna High, Lahaina Intermediate and Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena

Student and Staff Health and Well-Being

The Department is working to help transition students back to school by supporting the mental health and well-being of students and staff. Procedures and supports will be in place for reopening of school campuses.

Last updated: March 27



YellowIn progress

RedPending partner agency action



Occupational Safety - Green Procedures for Health and Safety: Occupational Safety

​Ensure safety measures are in place by developing and disseminating guidance for reopening.

10-15-23: Health and safety guidance updated to reflect a more conservative approach in consultation with the state Department of Health:

10-06-23: HIDOE’s Health and Safety Guidance for Reopening Lahaina Schools rolled out to school staff on Oct. 5 and to families on Oct. 6. Developed based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and in consultation with state Department of Health: 

09-13-2023: In progress.

Support for Students' Mental Health and Well-Being - Green Support for Students' Mental Health and Well-Being

​Ensure mental health support for students is identified and offered through schools' Multi-Tiered System of Support, including training for school employees and in-person supports by mental health professionals.

Establish community access points for students and families to connect with additional support for basic needs including food.

​01-29-2024: Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) and BounceBack training for school counselors and School-Based Behavioral Health staff.

Teen counseling support groups for boarding students (partnership with Kaiser Permanente).

Ongoing student support (in-person on-campus, community in-person, telehealth).

All schools are implementing social-emotional learning.

Schools have offered different types of trauma informed interventions (e.g., Lahaina Intermediate School partnered with Kaiser Permanente to run a Drumming Circle for their students).

Continued consultation with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

10-06-2023: Established partnership with the NCTSN to identify mental health supports and offer training. Trained more than 1,000 Maui employees on psychological first aid. Will continue to engage with NCTSCN to offer appropriate mental health and trauma-informed support and training for schools.

09-13-2023: Developing plans and training with assistance from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Trained more than 1,000 Maui employees on psychological first aid and preparing for schools to offer additional planning and training on trauma-informed support.

10-06-2023: Mental Health Resource List based on the Here to Help framework completed. Resource list includes screening option, menu of tiered support services for students, and ongoing training for school staff and related service providers. Draft responsive recovery approach and considerations documents to support effective implementation of resources shared with state and complex area leadership.

09-13-2023: Develop a Mental Health responsive recovery approach based on the Here to Help framework that will include screening, menu of tiered support services for students and ongoing professional development for school staff and related service providers.

10-13-2023: Referral protocols have been reviewed with staff so that signs of trauma and distress are recognized in students.

09-13-2023: Offering online and in-person support for crisis counseling and mental health support for students:

09-13-2023: ECHY is providing in-person supports and resources to meet the immediate needs of families in Maui.

10-13-2023:  Lahaina schools have 10 school counselors and 5 behavioral health specialists working daily on campus.  Upon reopening an additional 20 mental health staff will be made available to support students as needed.

10-06-2023: HIDOE School-Based Behavioral Health providers and contractors offering supplemental mental health supports and services on Maui.

09-13-2023: Plan in place for HIDOE School-Based Behavioral Health providers and contractors to supplement mental health support on Maui.

11-07-23: Additional trainings offered as follows:
- Working with youth that have experienced trauma and traumatic grief for Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena staff of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN).
- Secondary traumatic stress and self-care training for Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena staff by the Public Health Officers.
- Treating traumatic grief training for Lahaina school-based behavioral health staff by Dr. Anthony Papa from UH Mānoa.
- Supporting youth who have experienced trauma for the bus company by Dr. Brymer of the NCTSN.

Consultation time to discuss concerns provided by University of Hawai‘i Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Lahaina teachers and support staff.

Support for Employees' Mental Health and Well-Being - GreenSupport for Employees' Mental Health and Well-Being

​​Ensure support for Maui employees by extending the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and providing mental health support that is accessible at school-sites during work hours for Maui island employees.

​01-29-2024: Ongoing adult support available (e.g., employee assistance, community in-person, and by phone, in partnership with HMSA).

Coordinating with the state Department of Health to offer long-term counseling supports for staff. 

Continued consultation with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

10-06-2023: Partnership with National Child Traumatic Stress Network in-place to support continuous delivery of appropriate training and services.

09-13-2023: Developing plans and training with assistance from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.

10-06-2023: Offering online and in-person support for crisis counseling and mental health support for employees, which includes EAP services

09-13-2023: Offering online and in-person support for crisis counseling and mental health support for employees:

10-13-2023: Upon reopening each Lahaina school will have one designated mental health staff on campus to address adult needs.

10-06-2023: Planning for on-site mental health for employees at Lahaina schools and identified BKKM campuses.

09-13-2023: Planning for on-site mental health for employees at Lahaina schools.

10-06-2023: Employee Assistance Program is extended to offer more days of support.
​11-07-23: One mental health provider dedicated to staff support is available for each of the Lahaina schools through U.S. Public Health Service Corps.

Revised Evacuation Procedures - GreenProcedures for Health and Safety: Revised Evacuation Procedures

​Ensure revised evacuation procedures are implemented for the schools.

10-13-2023: HIDOE announced with Gov. Green and state Department of Transportation the completion of improvements to a 2.5-mile emergency access route that runs from the Lahainaluna fire lane to the Lahaina Bypass. See news release at

10-03-2023: HIDOE is working with the Maui Police Department and State Department of Transportation to evaluate potential secondary routes.

King Kamehameha III Elementary - GreenKing Kamehameha III Elementary

​Ensure options are provided for students from King Kamehameha III to attend school in Lahaina.

04-2024: Temporary campus at Pulelehua welcomed students on April 1.

02-2024: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hands over the completed temporary school site to the HIDOE.

11-06-2023: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $53.7 million base contract to Pono Aina Management, LLC, an 8(a) Native Hawaiian Organization, to construct a temporary elementary school campus in Lahaina. The temporary school will accommodate students displaced from the King Kamehameha III Elementary School that was damaged and rendered unusable by the wildfires.  

09-2023: Ground lease for site of temporary campus executed with master developer of Pulelehua near Kapalua Airport. The ground lease is at a rate of $1 per year for the first three years; $180,000 for Year 4 and $230,000 for Year 5, with an option to cancel at any time with 180 days' notice.

10-14-2023: Temporary structures completed on Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary with AC and generators.

09-26-2023: Gov. Josh Green, M.D., Superintendent Keith Hayashi and state Health Department Director Dr. Kenneth Fink announced the reopening plans Tuesday at a news conference in Lahaina. Officials emphasized that the campuses are safe for staff and students to return. Students and staff from King Kamehameha III Elementary, which was damaged beyond repair, will be sharing campus facilities with Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena until a planned temporary school site being developed near Kapalua Airport is open. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is funding the project while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is handling construction and estimates it could take at least 95 days to complete.

09-13-2023: ​Initially, King Kamehameha III will meet at Princess Nāhi‘ena‘ena Elementary. Temporary “pop-up” classrooms are being installed at Princess Nāhi‘ean‘ena Elementary to increase capacity. HIDOE is exploring potential sites for a temporary school site in West Maui.