HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Lanai grapples with an alarming outbreak of COVID-19 cases, the state announced the island’s only public school will move to distance learning immediately.
Some 570 students are enrolled at Lanai High and Elementary.
In making the switch, the state Education Department sought to assure parents there were no confirmed infections linked to the K-12 campus. The school has been offering blended learning to students in kindergarten through fifth grade and full distance learning for secondary grades.
The decision comes amid growing concern about a COVID-19 outbreak on Lanai. In just the last few days, the island has seen 20 positive cases and officials said that figure is expected to rise.
Heidi Taogoshi, of the Maui District Health Office, said all of those who have tested positive are residents. They are all isolating at home; none have been hospitalized.
Medical staffers fear the number will rise rapidly and some believe a lockdown is necessary.
Lanai, whose population is just under 3,000, had previously seen no COVID-19 infections diagnosed on island. Two Lanai residents had been diagnosed with COVID-19 while off island.
State and county officials have long considered a COVID-19 outbreak on Lanai as a worst-case scenario, pointing out that the island’s healthcare system is ill-equipped to handle a surge in patients.
This story will be updated.