DOE Expands Grab-and-Go Student Meal Program

The Hawaii Department of Education has expanded the Grab-and-Go Student meal program to the following schools:

Note that breakfast is served from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to noon. For food safety, meals must be consumed by 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively.

Passengers Flying Into Hawaii Continues to Drop

The number of passengers flying into Hawaii continues to drop.

Yesterday, 1,207 people arrived in Hawaii on the third day of the state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for all incoming passengers. Of that number, 151 people were visitors, and most of the passengers were either returning residents or crew members.

In comparison, during this same time last year, more than 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

This table shows the number of people who arrived by air on March 28th. 

COVID-19 Assistance For Homeowners & Renters

Mortgage payment forbearance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides relief for homeowners with government-guaranteed mortgages.  Homeowners with mortgages backed by the FHA, USDA, VA, HUD Section 184a, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac are eligible for loan forbearance for up to one year without fees, penalties or additional interest. 

Homeowners who are facing a financial hardship, either directly or indirectly, from the coronavirus may receive the forbearance by submitting a request to their servicer stating they are experiencing a hardship related to the virus.  The forbearance will be granted for 180 days and may be extended for up to another 180 days at the borrower’s request.

Homeowners in need of the forbearance should reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible or contact a HUD approved housing counselor.  Contact information for a homeowner’s mortgage servicer can be found in monthly mortgage statements or coupon book.  The nearest housing counselor can be found at www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor or by calling (800) 569-4287.

Foreclosure relief 

Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages, or mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who are facing foreclosure will also have relief from foreclosure or being forced to relocate as we address the COVID-19 pandemic.  The foreclosure eviction moratorium is in effect until May 17, 2020. 

Renters in properties with federally-guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs

Eviction Moratorium for Renters

Until July 26, 2020, property owners are prohibited from filing for eviction against or charging any fees for unpaid rent and fees to a tenant in properties with federally-guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs.  Property owners must also issue a notice to tenants to vacate 30 days before an eviction and the notice to vacate cannot be issued during this 120-day period.

This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as properties that have a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency (including FHA and USDA) or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Additionally, owners of multifamily buildings with federal loans in forbearance may not evict tenants for unpaid rent or charge late fees or penalties until the loan exits forbearance. 

Renters seeking information on whether they are covered by the moratorium should contact Legal Aid Society of Hawaii or a HUD approved housing counselor.  You can find the nearest housing counselor here or by calling (800) 569-4287.

Virtual Community Meetings on Proposed Energy Storage Projects

Hawaiian Electric will host virtual community meetings to seek public input on the utility’s five proposed battery energy storage systems (BESS).

The company is proposing two self-build projects on Oahu at Kahe Power Plant and on industrial land near Kalaeloa, one at Waena in Central Maui, and two on Hawaii Island at Keahole Power Plant and Puna Generating Station. The projects made the first round of Hawaiian Electric’s request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy and grid services issued in August 2019.

The virtual community meetings will be held online or televised, featuring a presentation about the island-specific project(s) followed by live interaction between audiences and a host.

Hawaii Island
Wednesday, April 15, 5:00 p.m., Na Leo TV Channel 53. Viewers may email questions to punabess@hawaiianelectric.com or keaholebess@hawaiianelectric.com prior to or during the program.

Maui
Wednesday, April 8, 5:30 p.m., Akaku Community TV Channel 54. Viewers may email questions to mauibess@hawaiianelectric.com and receive live responses during the program.

Oahu
Tuesday, April 14, 6:00 p.m., WebEx live meeting. To join the meeting, go to www.hawaiianelectric.com/selfbuildprojects. Scroll to the Oahu projects, Virtual Public Meeting, and click on “Join the Meeting.” Participants can only register the day of the meeting. Viewers also can dial in to 1-408-418-9388 and enter meeting code 965 550 246. Viewer questions can be emailed to kahebess@hawaiianelectric.com or ceipbess@hawaiianelectric.com during the live meeting.

“We know the community is dealing with a lot right now because of the pandemic, and there is uncertainty on how long this will last. If we could postpone these meetings we would,” said Jack Shriver, Hawaiian Electric director of generation project development. “But, these potential projects are under a compressed schedule for permitting and construction. We want to give our communities an early opportunity to provide their feedback on our self-build proposals.”

Shriver added, “Like all developers, Hawaiian Electric’s self-build team must abide by the requirements in the RFP for transparency and community engagement. Our self-build team does not know what other developers are proposing because of the strict code of conduct that prohibits interactions with the team that is evaluating the RFP bids.”

On Hawaii Island, two projects are being proposed, including a 6 MW / 6 MWh BESS in Puna, and a 12 MW / 12 MWh BESS at Keahole Power Plant. Comments on the proposed projects are being accepted until May 15, 2020.

On Maui, the proposed project is a 40 MW / 160 MWh BESS located on 65 acres in Waena near the Central Maui landfill. The project will enable the retirement of Kahului Power Plant in 2024. Comments on the proposed Maui BESS are being accepted through May 8, 2020.

On Oahu, Hawaiian Electric is proposing to build a 135-megawatt (MW) / 810 megawatt-hour (MWh) BESS at Kahe Power Plant and a 65 MW / 390 MWh BESS on industrial land near Kalaeloa. Together, these projects would help support the planned retirement of the 180 MW coal-fired AES power plant, which is due to close in 2022. Comments on the proposed projects are being accepted until May 14, 2020.

Under the Competitive Bidding Framework rules approved by the PUC, Hawaiian Electric may propose self-build projects – developed, constructed and owned by the utility – to meet generation and/or capacity needs across its service territories. To ensure all projects are treated fairly and equitably and will not interact to create problems on the grid, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has chosen independent observers and a technical adviser to oversee the process and proposals. If selected through the RFP process, Hawaiian Electric’s self-build projects would still require PUC approval.

For more information, visit www.hawaiianelectric.com/selfbuildprojects.

HIDOE Seeks to Modify Graduation Requirements Due to COVID-19

The Hawaii State Department of Education is seeking approval from the Board of Education (BOE) to modify high school graduation and commencement requirements under Board Policy 102-15 for the class of 2020. The memo submitted by the Department today seeks flexibility in awarding a diploma or certificate to graduating seniors, based on approval from individual school administrations. There are approximately 10,000 students who are eligible to earn diplomas this year. 

School facilities have been closed to students since March 19, with traditional, in-school instruction temporarily discontinued until at least April 30. Approval of the proposed waiver will provide educator-driven solutions to address the loss of educational content as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis. This action will allow class of 2020 graduates to proceed with post-secondary educational and workforce opportunities without unnecessary delays.

The Department also determined it will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and make a decision by April 15 regarding commencement ceremonies. School, complex area and state teams have started discussing alternative means of celebration in the event traditional ceremonies cannot be held. 

“The decision around celebrating this milestone with our seniors is an emotional one as most students have looked forward to this occasion since they were in elementary school. However, the safety and health of our community is paramount and we are basing our decisions on guidance from health and state officials in the coming weeks,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “Our request to the Board for a one-time policy waiver is a critical step in our efforts to adjust the remainder of the school year for our public and charter schools. Once we receive approval from the Board, we can formally issue guidance for meeting graduation requirements that has been developed.”

Details about the April 2 BOE meeting as well as the memo are posted on the Board’s website.

In addition to graduation requirements, HIDOE’s planning includes its request to the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) to waive standardized testing and associated accountability and reporting requirements for the 2019-20 school year. This request was approved by the USDOE last week. The public can submit comments until April 10 regarding this waiver through an online survey here. For more information as well as the anticipated impact, click here

All Hawaii DOE employees will continue to work remotely until at least April 30, with the exception of those who are considered essential and must perform their duties at a campus or office, which includes meal prep and distribution at grab-and-go sites. 

Beginning this week, schools started to prepare distance learning opportunities and/or learning packets to be distributed via email, school websites and some in-person. Work packets will not be graded, but many teachers are identifying unique ways to provide feedback to students. The Department has also stood up a resource for parents available at bit.ly/HIDOEVirtualLearningParentResource.

Hawaiian Electric to Estimate Energy Usage

Hawaiian Electric continues to adjust its operations to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus, including postponing less urgent repair and maintenance work, and closing walk-in customer payment centers at least through April.

None of the operational changes being made will interrupt electric service to customers.

To ensure electric service is not disrupted, Hawaiian Electric is postponing projects and work that would require customer outages, unless it is deemed critical for safety or reliability. Our crews and contractors will continue to perform essential work that involves little interaction with the public, including tree trimming (to reduce potential outages), replacement of equipment, and system resilience work that is difficult to reschedule.

Emergency work, including outage restoration and repairs to ensure public safety such as replacing damaged poles, remains a priority.

Although Hawaiian Electric employees are considered “essential workers,” the company is trying to reduce the numbers in the field to protect the health and safety of employees and the public. Here are some other measures being taken:

  • Until further notice, the company is reducing the number of meter readers sent out across its five-island service territory.

    Bills for residential and some small- to medium-size commercial customers will be estimated based on the previous month’s usage. Meter readers will continue to read meters for large commercial customers.

    Once meter reading resumes, the bills will “true up” and customers will be billed accordingly for the actual usage. Customers will pay for only the electricity used.
  • Service disconnections are suspended through May 17, an extension from April 17. If you receive a notice from Hawaiian Electric before May 17 that threatens to disconnect service, it’s a scam and should be ignored.

    Customers facing financial hardship are urged to contact Customer Service so payment options and schedules can be arranged to help keep payments manageable. While customers will still be responsible for paying their electric bills, payment schedules and other options can help ease the financial challenges for those most affected by the COVID-19 situation.

    The quickest way to start the process is to fill out and submit a Payment Arrangement Request Form at https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/customerserviceoptions.
  • Walk-in customer payment centers will remain closed at least through April 30 rather than reopen on March 30 as originally planned.

Hawaiian Electric encourages customers who are having difficulty paying their bills due to the coronavirus pandemic to contact customer service representatives.

To make payment arrangements or for more information, visit the online customer care center at www.hawaiianelectric.com or call:

Passenger Arrivals By Air Tank On First Day of Quarantine

On Thursday, March 26, 2020, 1,589 passengers arrived in Hawaii on the first day of the state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for all incoming passengers.

Of that number, 268 people were visitors, and most of them were either crew members or returning residents.

In comparison, last year at the end of March, more than 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

This table details the number of people who arrived by air on March 26th:

* HNL (Honolulu, Oahu), OGG (Kahului, Maui), KOA (Kona, Hawaii Island), LIH (Lihue, Kauai)

Statewide Effort Underway to Identify Certain Inmates for Release from the Prison Population Amid COVID-19 Concerns

The Department of the Attorney General is coordinating a remote-access meeting of county and state prosecutors, public defenders and the judiciary to develop a plan for identifying certain categories of inmates for release from state jails.

On March 24, 2020, the Hawaii Supreme Court ordered the Attorney General and all county prosecuting attorneys to respond to a petition filed by the Office of the Public Defender seeking an order to commute or suspend jail sentences for persons serving time either as a condition of felony probation or pursuant to district court convictions for petty misdemeanors and full misdemeanors.

In her response, the Attorney General recognized the urgent need to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the state’s corrections system, but noted the important duty of law enforcement to protect the public and ensure the fair administration of justice. The Attorney General’s response identified a plan for collaboration among criminal justice counterparts that complements efforts already underway by county prosecutors to reduce the number of persons entering the jail system.

“Temporarily releasing inmates or suspending jail sentences could create risks of harm to victims and other persons in the community,” said Attorney General Clare E. Connors. “All sectors of the criminal justice system should participate in this unprecedented process of re-evaluating the need to incarcerate certain inmates in order to reduce the danger of COVID-19 spreading in our jail system.”

The Department of the Attorney General has circulated to each of the county prosecutors and to the public defender and judiciary a list of currently incarcerated inmates who are in the following categories:

A. charged with a petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor;
B. serving jail sentences as a condition of felony probation; or

C. serving jail sentences for petty misdemeanor or misdemeanor.

On Friday, law enforcement entities, public defenders and the judiciary will discuss a process for evaluating the release, commutation or suspension of jail sentences for each of the inmates identified on the list. The process contemplates that those most knowledgeable about the inmates are able to ensure that each released person has a place to go, will not put another person at risk of harm and is properly tracked by the system. This process also is intended to ensure that any release of inmates does not further tax the limited government resources that are focused on addressing the general spread of COVID-19 in the community.

UH Program Connects Public, Local Farmers During Pandemic

Since farmers’ markets have been shut down for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, local farmers are concerned about how they will be able to sell their produce, and locavores are wondering where they are going to buy their local produce and value-added products.

The University of Hawaiʻi’s successful farmer-training program, GoFarm Hawai‘i, has been building a list of some resources for farmers as well as Find Your Farmer, a list of farmers who are still offering access to food in non-traditional ways, such as through pick-up and drop-off. They have the information promoted on their Facebook and Instagram pages so that farmers can add their information.

GoFarm Hawaiʻi has been addressing the issue of food security long before the unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis. 

GoFarm Hawaiʻi is a collaborative effort involving UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human ResourcesWindward Community College and UH’s Agribusiness Incubator Program.

They are looking for farmers who have food to sell as well as building a resource for people to access food. GoFarm Hawai‘i is also requesting any recommendations of services that can aid farmers during the interim so they can be added to the list.

GoFarm Hawaiʻi has five program sites across four islands, making it one of the largest beginning-farmer training programs in the nation. Sites are located on Oʻahu (in Waimānalo and Waialua), Kauaʻi, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island. Started in 2012, the program has successfully trained aspiring farmers throughout the state.

Hawaii Passenger Arrivals By Air Tanks

The number of people – both residents and visitors – arriving in Hawaii daily by air has significantly dropped over the past week.

Last week Tuesday, March 17th, Governor David Ige strongly encouraged our visitors to postpone their vacations for at least the next 30 days to help with the State’s efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Ige followed up with an order for a 14-day mandatory quarantine for all incoming passengers to Hawaii and a stay at home order.

The Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism publishes a daily passenger count during the weekdays: http://dbedt.hawaii.gov/visitor/daily-passenger-counts/

Below you will find the amount of people – both residents and visitors – who arrived by air, broken down by island. This includes passengers from the U.S. mainland and international locations, but not interisland travel. *We have included the drop in percentage compared to the same time a year ago.

Click to enlarge

Note: The daily average amount of residents arriving during March 2019 was 4,268. Also, the passenger count does not include flights from Canada.

Information on Statewide Stay-at-Home Order

Effective March 25, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. through April 30, 2020, everyone in the State of Hawai‘i is required to stay at home or in their place of residence. This supplement to Governor David Ige’s emergency proclamation was announced on March 23, 2020.  Read the supplemental proclamation here

Under the proclamation, individuals may leave their home or place of residence only for essential activities, to engage in essential businesses and operations, and only if their work cannot be conducted through remote technology from home. 

Permitted Activities Outside the Home or Place of Residence

Under the order, the following activities are permitted outside the home: 

  • Travel for health and safety.
  • Travel to engage in, receive or obtain goods or services from the essential businesses or operations identified in the order.
  • Travel to engage in minimum basic operations of non-essential businesses, as well as the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or other high risk persons
  • Travel from a person’s home or place of residence to the nearest airport or other facility for departure from the State.
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.
  • Outdoor exercise activities so long as social distancing requirements are maintained.
  • Walking pets on a leash.

Read the full details here.

Prohibited Activities Outside the Home or Place of Residence

  • Pursuant to current guidance from the CDC, any gathering of more than 10 people is prohibited unless exempted by this Third Supplementary Proclamation.
  • All other places of public gathering will be closed to the public.

Read the full details here.

Essential businesses defined in the proclamation include: 

  • All businesses or operations identified as federal critical infrastructure sectors or designated by the Director of HIEMA.
  • Healthcare services and facilities.
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine.
  • Food, beverage, cannabis production and agriculture.
  • Educational institutions.
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services.
  • Media.
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation.
  • Financial institutions.
  • Hardware and supply stores.
  • Critical trades, including building and construction.
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services.
  • Laundry services.
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises.
  • Supplies to work from home.
  • Transportation.
  • Home-based care and services. 
  • Residential facilities and shelters. 
  • Professional services. 
  • Child care services for employees exempted by this Order. 
  • Manufacture, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries. 
  • Critical labor union functions.
  • Hotels and motels.
  • Funeral services.
  • Government functions.  

Read the full details here.

Social Distancing Requirements

All essential businesses and operations identified herein and persons engaged in permitted activities identified herein, shall exercise the following social distancing requirements to the fullest extent possible:

  • Six-foot distances between individuals
  • Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products
  • Separate operating hours for high risk populations
  • Online and remote access

Read the full details here.

Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

Persons experiencing homelessness are exempt from section I of the proclamation but must comply with the social distancing requirements to the fullest extent possible and are strongly urged to obtain shelter.

Read the full details here.

Criminal Penalties

Any person who intentionally or knowingly violates the order, if convicted, can be fined up to $5,000, or imprisoned up to one year, or both.

Read the full details here.


DOH Waives Routine TB Clearance Requirements for Selected Groups

The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) is waiving routine Tuberculosis (TB) clearance requirements for selected groups to support COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The suspension will remain in effect through May 31, 2020. The suspension will support social distancing in the community to protect the public, especially vulnerable seniors and individuals with medical conditions that could increase their risk for COVID-19.  


Although TB tests for routine screening are mandated under Hawaii Administrative Rules, Title 11, Chapter 164, the DOH determined that temporarily suspending the TB clearance for these selected categories do not pose immediate risks for tuberculosis transmission in the community. This also reduces the greater risks of contracting COVID-19 and helps to further manage the spread of the virus in communities across the state. DOH conducts an average of 50,000 tuberculosis skin tests annually, and provides treatment to approximately 120 individuals identified with TB.

TB clearances for the following are suspended through May 31, 2020:

  • Annual clearance for healthcare workers
  • Annual clearance for patients in long-term care facilities
  • Food handlers
  • Children entering childcare, preschool or school (K-12th grade)
  • Post-secondary school students and employees

The Department of Health continues to require TB clearances for new healthcare workers, new childcare and school employees, and new residents of long-term care facilities.  DOH will continue to provide full evaluation and treatment of patients with active TB as well as those who have been exposed to individuals with active TB.

Residents who need a TB clearance may call their local public health nursing office to make an appointment for this service.

Hawaii COVID-19 Retest Associated With Death Comes Back Negative

(Hawaii) – Internal communication of a COVID-19 test at the Dept. of Health resulted in a report being misread and initiated a retest of samples today from an O‘ahu adult, who died on March 20th. This evening the second test came back negative for COVID-19.

DOH Director Dr. Bruce Anderson says our focus was to get information out in a timely manner. This is an unprecedented situation and we’re still developing best practices. Anderson said, “I accept all responsibility for not verifying reporting procedures. We’re immediately instituting measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again. My condolences to the family and friends of the person who passed away and our apologies for any undue anxiety this caused.” 

Swabs from the person were submitted to the state laboratories two days after the person died. They’d originally been tested by a private clinical laboratory with inconclusive results.

School Facilities Closed to Students Through April 30

School facilities closed to students through April 30 with the exception of grab-and-go meal sites

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced today school facilities will remain closed to students through April 30, based on the latest guidance and information from health officials and elected leaders. Traditional, in-school instruction is on hold until schools reopen. 

“I want to thank each and every one of the Department’s 44,000 employees for working in new ways during these unprecedented times,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “These are uncertain and anxious circumstances for everyone in our communities and we sincerely appreciate your patience as our response to this health crisis continues to evolve and we make the needed adjustments for health and safety.”

The Department, along with charter schools, will be sending out information about enrichment opportunities, including online resources and printed material resources such as instructional packets. Parents and guardians are encouraged to look out for information from their child’s school and teachers. Tips and tools gathered by HIDOE’s Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design are also available for the public at bit.ly/HIDOEVirtualLearningParentResource.

Special education services
Schools will ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the same enrichment opportunities as their peers. Schools are working toward providing the most appropriate modifications and accommodations under the circumstances. Related services that can be provided via telepractice will be considered on a case-by-case basis for students who have qualified for these services. When school resumes in its traditional manner, Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Section 504 teams will meet to determine if there was a loss of skills as a result of the extended school closure, and the need for compensatory education. 

Grab-and-go meal school sites
Nine additional sites will begin breakfast and lunch service Wednesday, March 25. Parents and caregivers who come to pick up a meal must be accompanied by a child. Meals will not be served Thursday, March 26, which is Prince Kuhio Day. For the complete list of sites, click here. 

By the end of this week, the Department will be sharing specific plans to ensure its 10,000 eligible high school graduates can earn diplomas. The Department will also provide next-level information based on the planning work accomplished by schools, complex areas and state offices for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.

“We remain focused on and committed to our educational mission and we look forward to resuming instruction and a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible,” Kishimoto added.

HIDOE COVID-19 updates will continue to be posted on the Department’s website at hawaiipublicschools.org.

All Commercial Ocean & Trail Tours and State Parks Closed

With yesterday’s announcement that community spread of COVID-19 is likely happening in Hawai‘i, the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) has suspended all commercial operator permits until further notice. The suspension is consistent with Governor Ige’s supplemental emergency proclamation, Hawai‘i Dept. of Health (DOH) and Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. This covers hundreds of tour operators, surf and SUP schools, sight-seeing, whale-watching and dinner cruises and any commercial operation operating in state ocean waters.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Many people are not practicing the recommended social distancing protocols, so it’s become necessary for us to take these extraordinary steps to help encourage the six-foot separation between people recommended by Gov. Ige, the CDC and our experts at the DOH. It is hoped that every commercial permit holder and all local residents and visitors will abide by these closures in the spirit of flattening the spread of the corona virus.”

Many state parks were closed five days ago, but the DLNR Division of State Parks announced that it is shuttering all parks, statewide. “Unfortunately,” Curt Cottrell, State Parks Administrator said, “many, many people are simply ignoring gates and signs and choosing to put themselves and any others close-by at risk of contracting COVID-19. This unprecedented step is being taken in the interest of public health and safety and we really encourage people to find alternate activities that do not expose themselves and others to the virus.”

The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has closed all commercial tours on State trails and wildlife sanctuaries. Any vendors with tours already booked will be refunded.

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) is receiving reports of people continuing to enter Diamond Head State Monument and other closed parks. This is not only dangerous in places like the outer slopes and crater rim of Diamond Head, but violators are subject to being cited or arrested.

Case said, “We are all in this together.  It is an enormous inconvenience and upsetting to the kind of lifestyle we enjoy in Hawai‘i. The faster we stop the spread of COVID-19 by everyone practicing social distancing, the quicker we’re likely to see our lives return to normal.”

Gabbard Calls For Self-Quarantine Of Arriving Travelers & Returning Residents

In response to the unprecedented global coronavirus pandemic, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) is calling upon Governor David Ige to immediately institute a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine of anyone who travels to Hawaiʻi, including both visitors and kamaʻāina returning home.

“The governor of California is predicting that they’ll have 25 million cases of coronavirus in the state of California alone within the next 8 weeks. That’s over 60% of California’s population. As we look at how to prevent visitors from bringing the coronavirus to Hawaiʻi, it’s not enough to just encourage people not to come to Hawaiʻi. It also doesn’t do much good to take people’s temperatures when they get here because people can be asymptomatic and be spreading the disease,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“While Governor Ige does not have the power to suspend flights, I’m calling on the Governor to immediately institute a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine of anyone who travels to Hawaiʻi. This is what is already being done in countries around the world — like Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and China’s capital city Beijing. Visitors will be monitored to make sure that they are adhering to the quarantine. If they are residents, then they will be in house quarantine, separate from their relatives or others who are in the home. And if they are visitors, they’ll be quarantined in their hotel room. This is an absolute necessity, and it will be a tremendous help in saving lives here in Hawaiʻi.”

HIDOE Receives Approval to Cancel Federally Mandated Testing

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced an opportunity for states to apply for flexibility around federal assessment and accountability requirements due to COVID-19 impacts. Within hours of filing with the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE), the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) received notification that its expedited waiver request was approved.  

HIDOE’s expedited waiver allows for the cancellation of federally required assessments for the remainder of school year 2019-20. This includes Smarter Balanced Assessments in English Language Arts/Literacy and mathematics; Hawaii State Science Assessments and Biology 1 end of course exams; Hawaii State Alternate Assessments; and the Kaiapuni Assessment of Educational Outcomes (KĀʻEO).  

“At this time, the top priority of our haumana and staff should be staying healthy and adapting to their new learning environments,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “In these unprecedented times with rapidly changing conditions, the Department’s efforts are focused on helping students continue to learn and grow through alternative instructional delivery methods.” 

The Hawaii Board of Education will be discussing the federal waiver at its April telemeeting. More details and an opportunity for public comment will be available here.

Chief Justice Orders Courthouses Closed to the Public Except for Official Court Business

Today Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald ordered all state courthouses closed to the public, except for official court business, from March 23 to April 30, 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and the Judiciary is taking appropriate steps to ensure the safety of our community,” Chief Justice Recktenwald said. “We join Hawaii’s leaders in doing everything possible to slow the spread of this virus.”

Those with official court business include:

·        Parties, attorneys, witnesses, domestic violence advocates, guardians ad litem, interpreters, or any other person who must appear in-person as authorized by previous orders

·        Individuals who need to file documents with the court and who are unable to electronically file

·        Individuals who request to watch a specific public proceeding

The order states that any person entering judiciary facilities must minimize their time within the facility to the extent reasonably possible. This means going directly to areas of the facility in which their presence is required and leaving immediately after their business is complete. Additionally, anyone in judiciary facilities must maintain six feet between themselves and any other person to the extent feasible, including within courtrooms.

The chief judges of each circuit may issue orders and adjust court operations as necessary to minimize the number of people entering judiciary facilities, including establishing secure drop-boxes outside of courthouses for document filing to replace current in-person filing procedures.

In a related action to stem the spread of COVID-19, Judge Melanie May, Deputy Chief Judge of the District Court, First Circuit, today issued an order completely closing the following Oahu District Court facilities from March 23 to April 30:

·         Ewa District Court

·         Kaneohe District Court

·         Wahiawa District Court

·         Waianae District Court

·         Traffic Violations Bureau (2nd floor of Honolulu District Court)

·         Legal Documents Branch (3rd floor of Honolulu District Court)

Temporary Restraining Orders and other documents that a party is unable to file electronically may be filed at the Honolulu District Court Information Booth which is located to the right of the main entrance.

Essential court proceedings will be held at the Honolulu District Court, including TRO hearings. For cases involving defendants in custody, video conferencing will be used to the extent possible.

“Our local, state, and federal officials have emphasized that social distancing is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community and flattening the curve,” said Deputy Chief Judge Melanie May. “The Judiciary’s collective efforts to further reduce court operations not only promotes social distancing within court facilities, but also in the larger community by allowing people to remain at home rather than making their way to the courthouse steps.”   

Anyone with questions about any District Court case on Oahu may call 808-538-5629 or 808-538-5767.

The Judiciary has also taken action to minimize the number of in-person court proceedings. On Monday, March 16, the Chief Justice issued an order limiting all in-person appearances for civil, family, and, to the extent possible, criminal dockets, except for urgent and time sensitive matters. The order also prohibits individuals from entering judiciary facilities if they have a fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms; traveled outside Hawaii in the past 14 days; or have had close prolonged contact with a person who has or is suspected to have COVID-19. 

Additionally, to minimize health risks:

·       First Circuit Chief Judge R. Mark Browning issued an emergency order stating all public sales of property ordered to be sold in foreclosure cases filed in the First Circuit be postponed until after April 30. The order also states that open houses scheduled for court-related public sale be rescheduled until after April 30. Interested parties should read the full order.·      Yesterday, Chief Justice Recktenwald issued an order extending appellate deadlines that expire between March 20 and April 3, 2020 to April 6. Interested parties should read the full order.Copies of all orders are available on the Judiciary’s COVID-19 Information page.

Administrative Leave Offered to County Workers

In a memo from Mayor Kim to Hawaii County Department and Agency Heads sent on Friday, March 20, 2020, Mayor Kim authorizes Administrative Leave due to closures of Schools or Child Care Facilities because of the current COVID-19 emergency.

Administrative leave of up to 14 calendars days was authorized.

Hawaiʻi Island Delegation Letter to Mayor Kim

A Hawaii Island delegation of elected officials have sent the following letter to Hawaii Mayor Kim requesting immediate action in response to the public health concerns regarding the Corona virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Friday, March 20, 2020:

Dear Mayor Kim,

To protect the residents of the County of Hawaiʻi and the long-term stability of our island economy, we implore you to immediately order the shut-down of non-essential county government operations and the sheltering-in-place of all people throughout the County of Hawai‘i.

As Mayor of the County of Hawai’i, we strongly urge you to take the following immediate actions through an Emergency Proclamation and Emergency Rule(s):

  • Institute an immediate countywide shut down for the next fifteen (15) days.
  • Order all people in the County of Hawai‘i to shelter-in-place for the next 15 days and coordinate with the Joint Incident Center under the command of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency Director/Adjutant General Kenneth Hara to immediately use his authority under the March 16, 2020, Emergency Supplementary Proclamation by Governor Ige to take all necessary steps and required means to ensure that the supply chain for basic necessities — such as food, medicine, water, communications, gasoline, cargo and public safety throughout the County of Hawaiʻi — is secure.
  • Request Director/Adjutant General Hara to secure and requisition any needed hospital and medical supplies that are necessary to assist with the coming need to treat individuals due to COVID-19, at all available Hawaiʻi Island medical facilities.
  • In coordination with Governor Ige, order the quarantine of all travelers arriving from outside Hawaiʻi at the Hilo and Kona International Airports for a minimum of 15 days.
  • Prohibit all non-essential inter-island and out-of-state travel from Hawaiʻi Island.
  • In coordination with Governor Ige, require the immediate closure of all public and private schools, daycare centers, preschools, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Hawaiʻi Community College and Hawaiʻi Community College Pālamanui.
  • Require the immediate closure of all County facilities and workspaces, and send home all non-essential County of Hawaiʻi personnel for the duration of the shut down.
  • Limit County of Hawai‘i work to only essential personnel, provided they are equipped with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and adhere to spatial distancing guidelines and preventive measures as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Hawaiʻi Department of Health.

As Mayor, you are the only person who has the direct authority to institute these actions. As state legislators, we passed and continue to support the delegated authority provided to the counties under Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 127, which grants you, as Mayor, the power to act in emergency situations such as the unprecedented one we face today. The entire Hawaiʻi Island delegation is speaking with one collective voice, and we implore you to take immediate action for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the County of Hawai‘i.

Sincerely,

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele, Senator Russell E. Ruderman, Senator Dru Mamo Kanuha, and Senator Lorraine R. Inouye

Representative Mark M. Nakashima, Representative Chris Todd, Representative Richard H.K. Onishi. Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura, Representative Richard P. Creagan, Representative Nicole E. Lowen, and Representative David A. Tarnas