Kilauea eruption update

Information for the public regarding the latest developments on the Kīlauea eruption and its implication for our schools, students, staff and families, with links to partner resources. Please check back often as information on this page will be updated, or follow the Hawaii DOE on Twitter and Facebook: @HIDOE808.

Messages from CAS Farias

  • Aug. 7, 2018: Complex Area Superintendent Chad Keone Farias of the Ka'u-Kea'au-Pahoa Complex Area provided this update on addressing air quality issues as students and staff return to school. 
  • Jun. 12, 2018: CAS Farias authored this piece about the eruption at Kīlauea and preparing for the 2018-19 school year.


  • There are ongoing community debriefings held Tuesdays at 5 p.m. at the Pahoa High School cafeteria.
  • A joint federal/state/county disaster recovery center is open at the Pahoa Neighborhood Facility, 15-3022 Kauhale Street in Pahoa, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Sundays. Island residents or businesses who suffered damage or losses as the result of the eruption have until Monday, Aug. 13 to register for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the U.S. Small Business Administration. Impacted residents can also register for assistance by phone (1-800-621-3362) or online here:

Emergency preparedness at schools

All schools and state offices have emergency plans and our staff practice required drills annually. Please review our emergency preparedness information. Parents/guardians should further familiarize themselves with specific emergency preparedness plans at their children's school. Relating to the eruption at Kīlauea, everyone should understand the following protocols in particular: Shelter in Place, Earthquake, and Tsunami

Please follow the Hawaii DOE on social media for the latest information: Twitter | Facebook

Information for students & families

Public school families who have lost homes or who have otherwise relocated away from the event should get in contact with their new home school as quickly as possible. (Information on school enrollment here.) Families who plan to stay with their home school should confirm with the principal's office. 

If you've lost a home to this event and your family is still working to find housing, please contact our homeless liaisons for assistance with school registration, transportation and more:

  • Hilo: 808-933-2920
  • Kona: 808-327-4991
  • State: 808-305-9869, or toll-free at 866-927-7095

The Hawai'i DOE is working with its bus vendor to align routes to service needs, including stops at shelters for displaced families. As soon as possible, families should confirm the continued enrollment of their children at their home school, or register their children at a new home school if they are relocating, as enrollment data drive the creation and modification of transportation routes.

A flexible school bus route will be in operation from the Keaau and Pahoa Shelters to Pahoa Elem. and Pahoa High & Inter. to service any displaced students.

Morning Route 

  • 6:55 a.m.:  Keaau Shelter at the Keaau Community Center
  • 7:25 a.m.:  Pahoa Shelter at the Pahoa Community Center
  • 7:30 a.m.:  Pahoa Elementary
  • 7:35 a.m.:  Pahoa High & Intermediate

Afternoon Route 

  • 1:55 p.m.:  Pahoa Elementary
  • 2:10 p.m.:  Pahoa High & Intermediate
  • 2:20 p.m.:  Pahoa Shelter at the Pahoa Community Center
  • 2:45 p.m.:  Keaau Shelter at the Keaau Community Center

This flexible route will be in operation until the current locations of displaced students can be determined precisely.  Once these locations can be established, the schedule may be modified as needed.  Updated schedules will be posted here. All other routes will proceed with normal service.


Hawai'i DOE facilities staff and their counterparts at the Department of Accounting and General Services visited schools in the Puna district to account for facilities needs in early July. This includes addressing any major clean up prior to the launch of the school year, as well as any impacts or needs relating to food service, safety (shelter in place supports, masks, air quality monitoring), and other concerns.

  • School Action Plans: The Hawaii DOE and the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) have developed plans for the following air quality events: Ashfall | Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) | Particulate Matter
  • Sensitive Rooms: The Hawaii DOE is installing air purifiers and in-flow kits at priority schools near the volcano in order to create refuges for students and staff who suffer from heightened sensitivities to poor air quality.

The Kua O Ka La Charter School lost its physical campus to the lava flow in Kilauea's Lower East Rift Zone. PreK will continue at Pu‘ula United Church of Christ in Nanawale, elementary students will be housed at Nani Mau Gardens in Hilo, and middle and high school students will be located at the Boys and Girls Club in Hilo. More information available on its website:

Resources for staff

Events such as these can cause stress. The Hawai'i DOE has engaged the services of WorkLife Hawaii (WLH), a division of Child and Family Service, to provide all employees with confidential assistance regarding personal challenges affecting job performance related to family or marital problems, alcohol or substance abuse, and other emotional or behavioral problems. Additionally, WLH is able to provide critical incident stress debriefing. If you need assistance, please reach out to your Personnel Regional Officer at your Complex Area, or contact the Workers' Compensation and Employee Benefits Section in the state's Office of Talent Management: (808) 441-8466. 

Health and safety

The Hawai'i DOE works with its emergency and health partners to disseminate information about health and safety conditions in and around the eruption event. The decision to close schools due to related hazards is made in conjunction with Hawai'i Civil Defense.


When the Hawai'i State Department of Health reports that SO2 gas and other dangerous emissions are present, note that these are hazards especially for the elderly, young children and babies, and people with respiratory problems. 

Further away, these emissions and other airborne volcanic particulates can create hazy conditions, or vog, which can impact your health. When levels of vog are elevated:

  • Avoid outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing,
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration,
  • Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke,
  • Stay indoors and close windows and doors prior to voggy conditions,
  • If an air conditioner is used, set it to recirculate,
  • Always keep medications on hand and readily available,
  • Daily prescribed medications should be taken on schedule and may provide relief from the effects of SO2, and
  • Contact a doctor as soon as possible if you experience any health problems.

Please note that while common face masks can be effective in an ash fall situation (see below), they are not effective against gases. Learn more.

While most of the focus of this eruption event centers on the major lava flows in the East Rift Zone, the Halema'uma'u crater at Kīlauea's summit is also a source of significant volcanic activity, notably earthquakes and explosive events that have sent ash thousands of feet into the air.

On June 28, the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory released an FAQs page about this activity. Because of the magma shift to the East Rift Zone, followed by the incremental collapse of the magma chamber and vent, there have been fewer explosive ash events since May. That trend may continue, but it doesn't rule out the possibility of another major ash event. Please review this information about protecting yourself during an ash event.

Contact Information

Communications Office

Phone: 808-586-3232


How do I...?


View all FAQ's