The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) recently announced the cancellation of all large, in-person social gatherings through June 1, 2021. This includes proms, banquets, May Day celebrations, and other school-sanctioned social events with over 20 attendees.
“We understand that these are significant and meaningful events to our students,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “This decision was made to avoid planning and financial hardships that schools and families would incur due to potential last-minute cancellations. We want our schools to be able to move forward in planning confidently for the best alternative virtual options for their students.”
School commencement and transition ceremonies are excluded from the current guidelines. The HIDOE will continue to monitor local case counts and positivity rates along with guidance from the county, state and national health officials. A decision by the Department regarding limited, in-person commencement ceremonies is expected to be made by Feb. 26.
The Department is encouraging schools to consider planning for alternative commencement formats (e.g. virtual, drive-through, drive-in ceremonies) that can be combined with limited, in-person ceremonies, should they be approved.
“There are still a lot of unknowns at this point,” Kishimoto added. “We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our students, staff and school communities and are working closely with the Department of Health on a vaccination plan for our HIDOE employees. Our hope is that as more employees gain access to the vaccine, we will be able to provide greater opportunities for safe, in-person activities.”