HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige has said he anticipates that public schools will fully reopen for in-person instruction in the fall.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the state’s schools primarily online, but that most have enacted hybrid instruction models mixing in-person learning with virtual methods, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday.
Ige said in an interview that the goal is to return kids to school in-person full-time and that he is confident the state will be able to enact the initiative smoothly.
An agreement between the state’s schools, public health officials and teacher unions had pushed public schools to bring more students back to campus last month under coronavirus prevention guidelines.
Ige emphasized that the quicker children and adolescents get vaccinated, the sooner schools can open “in a much safer way.”
Ige said he hopes to vaccinations will be available for students ages 12 to 16 before the start of the fall semester.
Pfizer earlier this month requested that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorize use of their vaccine in people ages 12 to 15.
Currently, the Pfizer vaccine can only be used by people 16 or older while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines are only available for those 18 or older. People below 16 were not included in the companies’ first clinical trials.
All three pharmaceutical companies have since started or completed studies on younger age groups.