Weekly Updates, March 23


Our monthly Ho‘oha‘aheo newsletter will temporarily transition to a weekly edition. With COVID conditions continuing to improve, we have shifted away from the weekly COVID updates and will provide a wider range of HIDOE stories and announcements in this space as we adapt to the broader needs of our school communities.

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March 23

Editorial Mission: Our monthly Ho‘oha‘aheo newsletter will temporarily transition to a weekly edition. With COVID conditions continuing to improve, we have shifted away from the weekly COVID updates and will provide a wider range of HIDOE stories and announcements in this space as we adapt to the broader needs of our school communities.

Updates from Interim Superintendent Hayashi

Aloha, HIDOE Community

Welcome to the fourth quarter! I hope everyone got the rest they well deserved over spring break and is ready to finish the end of the 2021-22 school year strong.

  • Health and Safety Guidance Updates
  • » On the last day of the third quarter, a parent letter was issued regarding updated COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
  • » Outdoor mask wearing is optional for students and staff at Department campuses, events and facilities. Masks will continue to be mandated indoors (see Question of the Week for details).
  • » This is in alignment with the Department of Health’s (DOH) latest guidance for K-12 schools, which is informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • » Effective March 26, HIDOE employees will no longer be required to submit proof of vaccination or weekly test results. Volunteers and visitors also will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or negative test results when entering a campus or office. See this March 23 memo for more details (employee log-in required).
  • » To view the full COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidance for School Year 2021-22, click here. A list of recent updates can be found on the last page.
    • DOH Lifts Health Advisory on Navy Water System
    • » DOH recently declared all of the water in the Navy’s water system safe to drink.
    • » With the 19 flushing zones cleared, the seven public elementary schools that were affected by the Red Hill fuel tank spill — Red Hill, Pearl Harbor Kai, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, Mokulele, Nimitz and Iroquois Point — will be able to resume their usage of on-campus tap water.
    • » The Department has been working closely with the Navy and DOH as we continue to oversee this transition. This includes communicating with affected families throughout this water crisis.
    • » Mahalo to the leadership teams at these seven schools, their complex area leadership, military liaisons, and other HIDOE staff for working to protect the health and safety of our students and staff.
      • Welcome Back!
      • » I would like to again welcome our students, parents, teachers and staff to the final quarter of the 2021-22 school year.
      • » Adapting to the ongoing global pandemic has posed challenges for everyone, including the members of our HIDOE community. Nonetheless, we persevere.
      • » We look forward to closing this chapter with moments of celebration as our students take their finals, prepare for proms, and commemorate their commencements. Stay tuned for updates on graduation ceremony guidelines.
      • » Thank you for your continued support and commitment to the health and safety of our students and community.

#PublicSchoolProud  |  By Nicole Blomberg

Our school's focus on social and emotional learning will have a positive ripple effect for many years to come. Having empathy, practicing compassion and developing emotional regulation is another measure of success we can celebrate.

(Pictured to the left) Administrators and counselors were slimed by students who were the top donors for our Kids Heart Challenge community service project. It was messy but well worth the excitement and joy the kids felt!

» Nicole Blomberg is a graduate of Mililani High School. She has been working at Pōhākea Elementary School in ʻEwa Beach as a school counselor since 2006. In February, she was named 2022's Hawai‘i School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association. Her family is #PublicSchoolProud — her husband works at a HIDOE school and her two daughters attend public schools.

Question of the Week

Q: The Department’s recently updated COVID health and safety guidelines still includes indoor masking as a requirement for all students and staff. Why is this still a requirement when the state’s mandate expires after March 25?

A: The state Department of Health (DOH) still recommends indoor masking in schools, especially given the recent changes to guidance regarding individual case investigations and close contact quarantine requirements in a K-12 school setting. With the updated guidance that took effect in HIDOE schools on March 21, individual close contact identification, notification and quarantine of exposures is no longer required if universal indoor masking is implemented.

The Department’s goal is to always prioritize in-person learning, and this will help to minimize disruptions to students’ in-person learning due to quarantine requirements. The Department is cautiously adjusting guidance to ensure as many students as possible can continue to stay in the classroom.

HIDOE Case Counts

During spring break, a total of one confirmed or probable case was reported across Hawaii’s 257 public schools from March 14-18 for a daily average of 0.2 cases (as of March 20). This total is artificially low due to the week-long school break. For the latest case count information, visit bit.ly/HIDOECOVID-19Updates.

March 14-18

News Feed  |  #HI4PublicEd

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» In an effort to meet the goals of Act 175, which aims to have at least 30% of the food served in public schools be locally sourced by 2030, next week the Department will begin supplying Honolulu and Windward district schools with lettuce grown at Kunia Country Farms.


» The Robert’s Hawaii school transportation system was awarded $200,000 by the national Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act to replace outdated diesel school buses with new, energy efficient models. Read more about the grant in this article from Maui News.


» Students at Lokelani Intermediate School will be debuting Wave Mart, an on-campus store run by students, on March 27. Wave Mart’s inventory will feature such items as student-designed T-shirts and stickers, with profits going toward school activities. Photo credit: Sarah Ruppenthal, Maui News.


Keith Hayashi

Interim Superintendent


Phyllis Unebasami
Deputy Superintendent


Heidi Armstrong
Student Support Services
Sean Bacon
Talent Management
Brian Hallett
Fiscal Services
Randall Tanaka
Facilities and Operations

Christine Shaw

Information Technology Services

Cara Tanimura

Strategy, Innovation and Performance

Teri Ushijima

Curriculum and Instructional Design



Nanea Kalani

Executive Editor


Chanel Honda

Managing Editor


Sara Miyazono
Creative Director


Derek Inoshita

Contributing Writer


Krislyn Yano

Contributing Writer


Cara Phillips
Contributing Writer



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Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us

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