HILO – The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) closed three Pahoa area schools early Friday morning, May 4, 2018, due to volcanic activity in the area. Pahoa High and Intermediate, Pahoa Elementary and Keonepoko Elementary were closed for the entire day. HIDOE will be assessing damage to school facilities in response to a reported 6.9-magnitude earthquake southwest of the Pahoa district that occurred at 12:33 p.m. and generated numerous aftershocks.
“I commend our school leaders, teachers, staff and students for their quick action in initiating safety measures following earthquake activity,” said HIDOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. “The Department is deploying structural engineers where necessary and will be determining what schools will remain closed next week.”
A number of Hilo area schools that felt the tremors followed emergency protocols and performed safety procedures. Keaukaha Elementary, Chiefess Kapiolani Elementary and Hilo Intermediate initiated an early dismissal. Keaukaha Elementary initiated their tsunami protocol and evacuated campus, returning only after notifications were received that no tsunami had been generated. Mountain View Elementary and Hilo High held classes and activities outside of classrooms until the end of the school day as a safety precaution.
HIDOE is working closely with state and county officials to gather the latest information.