Schools and colleges pivot to deliver learning safelyPosted on Dec 29, 2020 in Capitol Connection, Featured
Transforming entire statewide education systems in a pandemic is no small feat, but Hawai‘i’s public schools and the University of Hawai‘i 10-campus system managed to do it. The Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) transitioned to distance instruction, guided by its Return to Learn: School Reopening Plan. Each school complex is deciding what fits its community best and when students can move to more in-person learning. HIDOE created the ‘Ohana Help Desk, the nation’s first statewide tech and multilingual support for students. They also allocated $31 million in federal CARES funds for student laptops and tablets and improved connectivity. Schools also provided more than 2.6 million free grab-and-go meals to children statewide.
More than 45,000 college students across the state successfully completed the semester with record high graduation rates, even though the UH 10-campus system shifted to online learning in March. UH enrollment has held steady with more local students staying home for college. Members of the UH community also have been doing work on developing an effective vaccine, advising government agencies and studying the economic, social and psychological effects of the pandemic. Campuses have provided community support through food drives and other service projects.