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Thursday, April 9, 2020
Public Comment: DoE Seeks ESSA Waiver
By News Release @ 12:58 AM :: 2305 Views :: Education K-12

Public comments sought regarding HIDOE’s request for greater flexibility under the CARES Act

HIDOE has submitted a request for waivers under the CARES Act which will allow for additional time to obligate ESSA federal program funds to address educational needs during this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.

News Release from Hawaii DoE, April 8, 2020

On March 24, 2020, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) Superintendent Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto announced the closure of all public school facilities in Hawaii in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Due to school closures, HIDOE has coordinated innovative approaches to maintain the continuity of learning for all Hawaii public school students in response to the unprecedented loss of instructional days.  

On April 3, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) informed state educational agencies that they may submit a request to waive specific provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), pursuant to the authority granted to the ED Secretary under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Pub. L. No. 116-136 (March 27, 2020). This announcement was in response to the nationwide disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  These waivers will help to facilitate HIDOE’s planning for the resumption of public education services in Hawaii.

These waivers will enable HIDOE to:

  • Extend for itself and its subgrantees the period of availability of federal fiscal year 2018 funds for programs included in the Hawaii Consolidated State Plan for ESSA to allow additional time to obligate these funds to ensure the continued availability of resources to address existing challenges and those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic;

  • Utilize Title IV, Part A funds to best meet instructional needs without regard to content-area spending requirements, spending limits on technology infrastructure, or completing a needs assessment to provide schools with resources to ensure equitable access to education; and

  • Conduct time-sensitive, one-time or stand-alone professional development focused on supporting educators to provide effective distance learning, enabling educators to leverage their strengths in the classroom with 21st century tools to provide greater access and equity of education for all students.

Once granted, the waivers will provide HIDOE with the flexibility needed to quickly adapt to the fluid circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and implement policies to optimally ensure student success and the delivery of learning supports in a condensed period of time.

PDF: Waiver request pursuant to the CARES Act


To submit comments on Hawaii’s waiver requests for flexibilities afforded under the CARES Act, please complete this survey. The deadline for comments is Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Should you have questions, please contact the Policy, Innovation, Planning and Evaluation Branch at (808) 586-3800 or via email at 

We appreciate any feedback regarding Hawaii’s waiver request for flexibilities afforded under the CARES Act.

Learn more about how the HIDOE is supporting its students and educators during this COVID-19 pandemic at


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