Hawaii public school officials report more than 1,800 teacher absences; Chaminade joins the transition to virtual classes

Hawaii’s education officials at all levels are scrambling to deal with the latest wave of COVID-19, with public schools reporting a further increase in teacher absences and Chaminade University joining the growing list of institutions moving temporarily to virtual learning.

Today, 1,812 public school teachers were absent, meaning that about 14% of the state’s 12,800 teachers were absent, according to data from the state’s education ministry.

Absences were about 13% higher than the 1,600 reported by Acting Public Schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi on Wednesday and about 39% higher than the roughly 1,300 teachers who the DOE said were generally absent in December before the wave of omicron variants.

There were still not enough substitute teachers to cover the growing number of sick calls, which meant other teachers, administrators and school staff were forced to help supervise students.

Of the 1,543 positions that required substitute teachers today, 1,101, or about 71%, have been filled, while 442 teacher absences have been discovered by substitutes. The DOE said substitute teachers were not needed for 269 absences.

In a note to schools today, Hayashi reiterated his commitment to maintaining comprehensive in-person learning in the state’s 257 schools.

“While we hope for a speedy recovery for those affected, we continue to focus on our mitigation strategies: getting vaccinated and boosted, staying home in case of illness, wearing a mask and washing hands,” Hayashi wrote. “While it hasn’t been easy to make adjustments and changes this school year, being able to keep our schools open is a testament to your commitment to our students. “

Meanwhile, Kanu o ka ‘Aina on the island of Hawaii has joined the growing list of local public charter schools switching to distance learning due to the surge. Today, she is at least the ninth charter school in Hawaii out of 37 to report a pandemic-related educational disruption.

Chaminade is moving its first three weeks of the new semester entirely online “out of caution,” with in-person learning on the Kaimuki campus suspended until at least January 31, school officials said today. in a press release. “The temporary hiatus will allow the university to explore additional safety precautions, such as the possibility of on-campus testing.”

The University of Hawaii previously announced that most classes on its 10 campuses will go virtual when teaching begins on Monday.

Nationwide, there have been more than 5,400 temporary school disruptions related to the pandemic this week in K-12 schools, according to Burbio, a company that monitors COVID-19 policies at more than 80,000 K-campuses. 12.

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