Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-09-13 04:44:18 –
An unspecified number of students in Hawaii’s public schools attend classes less than three feet away from each other, and social distances are no longer present. COVID-19 (New Coronavirus Infection) Compared to the value of learning at school.
The original distance plan is no longer an important part of the Ministry of Education’s plan to prevent COVID-19 infection, including the requirement for students to wear masks.
Interim School Director Keith Hayashi on Wednesday gave an estimate of the number of classrooms or students that could not be accommodated by a social distance of at least 3 feet, one of the concerns of the Hawaii Teachers Association, a member of the House Board of Education. Did not provide to.
On Wednesday, Hayashi told members of the House Board of Education that the three-foot spacing was “impractical” for some island classrooms.
On Friday, HSTA filed a complaint with DOE on health and safety issues. In a statement Wednesday, HSTA President Osatui Jr. told Honolulu Star Advertiser:
“Unfortunately, this department takes an approach of not listening, not seeing, seeing evil for so many things about pandemics. They are due to lack of distance and COVID-19. We do not collect data on the number of staff and students in quarantine, so they can continue to insist that they are okay. These are what HSTA negotiates on health and safety issues. That’s why we’re asking. This allows us to keep the school open, do it safely, and move to other learning modes when needed. “
In addition, an unspecified number of students have been affected by what Hayashi called “a serious shortage of student bus drivers throughout the state.”
According to DOE spokeswoman Nanea Karani, an estimated 100 of the 650 bus driver positions were unfilled, with the most devastating areas being Maui, Leeward and Windward. Includes all regions of Oahu and the eastern and western sides of the Big Island.
Randall Tanaka, deputy overseer of the facility and operations, told house members that there were 650 school bus drivers before going on to other jobs during the pandemic.
Mr. Tanaka said that the requirements for becoming a public school bus driver are strict and there are no more qualified drivers.
“It’s a lean workforce,” he said. “… There is no bench.”
The shortage has forced authorities to consolidate routes, and DOE offers mileage refunds to qualified families. Family members can apply for a mileage refund by visiting. DOE website..
Mr. Tanaka called for the driver shortage of the national phenomenon, which is a “big challenge for us” in the region.
According to Karani, the priority is to continue to serve special education students and students who fall under the McKinney-Vent Act.
Although DOE does not hire bus drivers, Karani said he has contracts with Ground Transport Inc. on Oahu and Maui, and Roberts Hawaii on all islands.
According to DOE, some vacancies are created when school bus drivers go to work at places such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon that offer higher wages, health benefits, and even free college tuition. it was done.
“Last year, when the school was distanced, many drivers were retired, got another job, left the island, and had enough profession interest to make up for their lost positions. There wasn’t, “says DOE. “The Student Transportation Services branch worked with contractors throughout the summer to consolidate routes to minimize the impact on service levels. About two weeks before school began, contractors were drivers We began reporting an influx of resignations. This required further consolidation and revision of routes to ensure as much coverage as possible. Throughout the first two weeks of the school, contractors quarantined COVID. Continued to report driver resignation or inability to work to meet requirements. “
On Wednesday, DOE announced that as of August 31, 89% of office workers were fully or partially vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s 19,559 of the 21,980 school staff.
All DOE employees are required to take a weekly test or provide evidence of vaccination against COVID-19.
Hayashi said in a statement: Increasing immunization rates within our community continues to be one of the best ways to protect ourselves and those around us from COVID-19. We are proud that our employees are playing their part in contributing to the health and safety of our students and the school community. “
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