Kokua Line: Is it too late for charter schools to join the national school meals program?


Question: Thanks for the additional information about free school lunches. So is it too late for a charter school to participate this year?

Answer: No, not necessarily. After Kokua Line wrote about this topic last week (808ne.ws/722kline), the state Department of Education followed up with more information. Spokesman Derek Inoshita confirmed that open enrollment to participate in the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program as a School Food Authority for School Year 2021-22 is ongoing; it’s not too late for public charter schools to enroll. Interested public charter schools may contact [email protected] for more information, he said. The school should make the contact, not an interested parent or grandparent.

Once enrolled and authorized, a charter school may apply for the nationwide fee waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is providing free meals at public schools to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by eliminating meal payment transactions. Hawaii’s 257 regular public schools were granted the waiver en masse because the DOE acts as the School Food Authority for all of them, while the state’s roughly three dozen public charter schools operate independently.

Each Charter School Food Authority must apply for the waiver independently, Inoshita said.

Families should contact their child’s school directly if they have questions about their school’s participation in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program and/or the nationwide waiver, Inoshita said.

Q: Is there a vaccine option for a housebound senior? I can’t get her to a clinic. She hardly leaves the house, but she does have helpers coming in and so I want to make sure she is vaccinated. She didn’t care before but now she does. It’s my grandma.

A: Yes. Your grandmother can be vaccinated in her own home; she doesn’t have to be living in a care home or other institutional setting to qualify for this personalized service. Call the state Department of Health at 586-8332 to arrange in-home vaccination. There’s more information at hawaii covid19.com/vaccine.

Q: When the Health Department tells schools what to do about COVID-19, is that all of them or just the public schools?

A: All of them. The latest K-12 guidance issued by the state Department of Health, which you can read at 808ne.ws/school, was developed with the state Department of Education, the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, Hawaii Catholic Schools, Hawaii State Public Charter Schools Commission, the Hawaii chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Hawaii Keiki Nurses and the Kauai District Health Office, according to the guidance report.

Q: There used to be a page with links to common forms for Honolulu County, but I can’t find it anymore. Not the long page with every form, the shorter one.

A: The link to a page of commonly used forms remains on the website for Honolulu County’s Department of Customer Services. Perhaps you overlooked it because the website has been redesigned. From the home page, https://honolulu.gov/csd, look under the red bar that lists “More Services.” A link to “Forms” is sixth on the list.


There’s no excuse for dog owners who take their dogs for walks without bringing waste bags. It is predictable that a dog will have to do its business. I don’t blame the dog. I blame the owner. I am tired of seeing messes on the sidewalk of what used to be a nice neighborhood. — East Sider


I want to send out a mahalo to the young man with the ponytail who was in a van with his girlfriend and offered to help me put air into the tires of my truck Sunday morning at the gas station at the corner of Nuuanu Avenue and Pauoa Road. I didn’t thank you properly. Mahalo. — C.D.

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email [email protected]



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