S.C.R. NO.














Encouraging the governor to maintain teachers as essential workers during a pandemic when contemplating emergency furloughs and layoffs.



     WHEREAS, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on the State's education system, forcing teachers and students to adjust to remote online learning, significant learning losses, blended classes, and other hardships; and


     WHEREAS, in December 2020, the Department of Education announced the details of furlough plans for its 21,900 full-time, salaried employees, and under the proposed furlough plan, teachers would have been required to take six furlough days between January 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021; and


     WHEREAS, on January 21, 2021, the Governor announced that with additional federal funds and more optimistic revenue projections, the public school/education budget cut was reduced from ten percent to 2.5 percent; and


     WHEREAS, even with the reduction in budget cuts, the Department of Education still faces roughly $140,000,000 in budget cuts for the 2021 school year, with close to seven hundred teachers being subject to potential layoff, and with some schools losing ten percent of their faculty; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Health defines frontline essential workers as those "whose duties must be performed on-site and require being in close proximity to the public or coworkers, and are essential to the functioning of society"; and


     WHEREAS, teachers are expected to continue to show up to work directly with students or work at schools where students are going to a campus to receive services; and


     WHEREAS, for purposes of vaccine distribution, the State has placed teachers in the 1b category, which includes those deemed "frontline essential workers", such as first responders, corrections officers, child care providers, emergency services dispatchers, U.S. Postal Service employees, and others; and


     WHEREAS, reopening schools is critical to reopening the economy, ensuring childcare for the state's workforce, and maintaining a stable learning environment for students; and


     WHEREAS, updated Centers for Disease Control school-reopening guidelines show that all Hawaii's counties were in the lowest-risk category and could safely reopen; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Education recently announced that all Hawaii elementary schools could be reopened for in-person learning by the end of March 2021; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Governor is urged to maintain teachers as essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic or any future pandemic, when contemplating emergency furloughs and layoffs; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Superintendent of Education, Executive Director of the Board of Education, and President of the Hawaii State Teachers Association.









Report Title: 

Teachers; Essential Workers; Furloughs; Pandemic