Weekly Updates, March 30


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 30

Editorial Mission: Our monthly Hoʻohaʻaheo 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

  • Distribution of COVID-19 Self-Tests
  • » Thanks to a collaboration with the Department of Health, the HIDOE has access to 750,000 COVID-19 self-test kits for students and staff.
  • » These over-the-counter tests will be made available to students and school staff who are not feeling well, have recently traveled, or have been deemed as close contacts. HIDOE administrators should reference this memo for information on how to request self-test kits.
  • » We are also working with the Hawai‘i Keiki program to estimate the number of self-tests each nurse should have available to send home when someone has symptoms of illness or is exposed to COVID at school.
  • » It’s important to note that results from self-tests do not meet the Department’s Return to School/Work Criteria; however, this distribution will encourage students and staff to test in instances where doing so is strongly recommended but not required (e.g., upon returning from travel, after attending an event, etc.), ultimately helping detect and minimize spread of the virus in our schools.
  • » Stay tuned for more details on this initiative, including a parent letter, instructional materials and a video to support the rollout of this program.
  • Indoor masking still required for HIDOE schools, offices
  • » Because school settings have different risk considerations than public settings, the HIDOE’s indoor masking policy currently remains in place, apart from the state’s overall indoor mask mandate that was recently lifted.
  • » Masking is a necessary compromise at this time. Universal indoor masking allows us to continue prioritizing in-person learning and keep students in school. If the Department were to end universal indoor masking at this point, schools would need to perform contact tracing and notification for anyone exposed to confirmed or probable COVID cases while at school, and in-school exposures would also be subject to quarantine requirements, according to the Department of Health's latest guidance.
  • » Our health and safety rules will continue to evolve based on the latest guidance from national and state public health authorities.
  • Secondary State Conference, “Ignite 2022”
  • » I was excited to join the Hawai‘i State Student Council as they hosted their annual Secondary Student Conference (SSC) in person on Friday. This year’s theme was “Ignite 2022,” paying tribute to the hope and perseverance our students have successfully maintained throughout the course of the pandemic.
  • » In crash courses leading up to the conference, the student delegates of SSC learned the ins and outs of the legislative process and discussed several of the bills being proposed to our state leaders today.
  • » On Friday, they were given the opportunity to debate and write testimony for the bills they felt most passionately about, allowing them to practice being civic-minded learners and critical thinkers.
  • » The outcomes of this year's SSC were outstanding. I’m proud to serve such capable student leaders and enjoyed witnessing their insights firsthand.
  • » To keep up with what else the Hawai‘i State Student Council is up to, visit their Twitter account @hawaiistuco.

#PublicSchoolProud  |  By Michelle Iwasaki

Every day, I work hard to try and earn the trust and respect of my colleagues. It is an honor to be part of such a dedicated faculty and staff who consistently go above and beyond for our students. I am #PublicSchoolProud to be a Kalihi Kai warrior.
» Michelle Iwasaki is an academic coach for grades K, 1, 4 and 5 at Kalihi Kai Elementary where she has worked for the past 18 years. Michelle is Hawai‘i’s latest recipient of the prestigious Milken Educator Award for her outstanding excellence in education. She is also the school's arts integration lead and WASC Coordinator.

Question of the Week

Q: Do employees still need to show proof of vaccination status or negative COVID-19 test results? What about visitors to state facilities?

A: With the expiration of Governor David Ige’s latest COVID-19 emergency proclamation on March 25, current employees will no longer be required to provide vaccination status or negative COVID-19 test results. Visitors and contractors to state facilities will also no longer be required to show vaccination status or a negative COVID-19 test result. All HIDOE employees, contracted service providers, visitors and students must still complete a Daily Wellness Check before going to school or work to help us keep our schools healthy and safe!

HIDOE Case Counts

A total of 88 confirmed or probable cases were reported across Hawaii’s 257 public schools from March 21-24 for a daily average of 22 cases (as of March 28), excluding the Kūhiō Day holiday. For the latest case count information, visit bit.ly/HIDOECOVID-19Updates.

March 21-24

News Feed  |  #HI4PublicEd

A roundup of announcements, resources and shoutouts.

» Students at Waiākea Intermediate School will be flying to Dallas, Texas, to compete in the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship, May 3-12. Of the 77 Hawai‘i VEX robotics teams, 32 qualified to advance to the Dallas competition. Congratulations and best of luck! Read more from Big Island Now here. Photo Credit: Hawai‘i Space Grant Museum

» After a two year break, Kahakai Elementary School’s Annual Rainbow Run returned! In promotion of physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle, the students at @kahakai371 conquered their on-campus obstacle course while getting splashed with the colors of the rainbow.

» Nānākuli Elementary School students participated in a school-wide songfest for Prince Jonah Kūhiō Day. Students from every grade level sang and danced to commemorate the state holiday. Watch the talented Nānākuli students on YouTube.


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

CONNECT WITH US » HawaiiPublicSchools.org

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Email: newsletter@k12.hi.us

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