The Hawaii State Department of Education will begin offering summer school on June 1. The classes will be provided with a mixed approach of both distance learning and in-person instruction.
Hawaii public school students have not had in-person classes since mid-March as part of an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Gov. David Ige announced a phased reopening plan for the state on Monday, allowing the Department of Education to resume some in-person instruction.
“We are thrilled with the governor's proclamation and the ability to roll out some in-person summer school,” Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said.
“We've got to provide some one-on-one individualized and in-person support to some of our highest needs students who haven't been engaged during this distance learning time period. And we know we're going to need to provide that into the fall.”
The summer school roll-out give 6th through 12th graders the opportunity to recover class credits so they can advance or graduate. Some 6,000 students can retake up to six courses each, and it is free for high school juniors and seniors.
The department is also offering standard summer school for all grades levels for up to 4,000 students. The instruction will mostly take place online.
However, Kishimoto explained that there will be some in-person instruction for the children with the highest need, such as special education students.
“Some of those students are not going to be able to receive their services via distance learning so, they will be provided opportunities to come in for things like occupational therapy, physical therapy, certain behavior-related programming as well as some instructional programming,” she said.
“We also have students who have had a significant challenge during quarter four in getting online and may not have had Wi-Fi access, and did not have good attendance. So there will be small groups of opportunities in person. We will be keeping those to be at about six to eight maximum in a room.”
The department is also launching four mobile learning labs with Wi-Fi connectivity starting in early June. The labs will be placed in Ka’u on Hawaii Island, Hana on Maui, Molokai and Kauai.
The mobile labs aim to help students in certain rural areas who fell behind because they didn’t have online access.
All other students not enrolled in summer school will need to return their school issued laptops at the end of the month for routine maintenance and upkeep.
Kishimoto said she anticipates opening classes for the next school year on August 4. It’s just not clear yet what that reopening will look like.