Hawaiʻi Launches $1.7M ‘Ohana Help Desk to Support Distance Learning

The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced the launch of its ʻOhana Help Desk, which will provide self-service and chat support for families experiencing issues connecting to HIDOE systems remotely from home. In an Aug. 4 press release, HIDOE said the state has invested $1.7 million to establish the help desk.

HIDOE said the new help desk is the nation’s first statewide, comprehensive help desk providing technology support to public school students and their parents. The launch comes as schools across the state are offering online and blended learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The help desk tasks state education IT professionals with offering assistance with connectivity-related issues, access and security issues, device support, and general IT support.

“The ʻOhana Help Desk will be a tremendous resource for our parents and students who will be distance learning this school year to help resolve technical issues that may arise when students connect to the HIDOE network remotely using a variety of devices,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “We already provide a help desk service for our employees, and this is an extension of that effort.”

The ‘Ohana help desk is not replacing school district IT teams’ efforts to provide tech support to families, but instead was “designed with a higher level of support, with phone support in multiple languages, chat support, and an online portal.”

The help desk will be able to provide phone support in languages most commonly spoken in Hawaiʻi households – English, Hawaiian, Ilokano, Tagalog, Chuukese, and Marshallese. The help desk will be staffed and available to students and parents Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. The self-service online portal is available 24/7.

Kate Polit
About Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs