During first week, 105 COVID cases were tied to public schools. Parents are frustrated

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 6:10 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 10, 2021 at 8:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After more than 100 coronavirus cases were confirmed in Hawaii public schools last week, some parents say they want more control and distancing in classrooms.

“School has only been happening for a week and they are already having COVID cases,” said one parent who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation. “They had over a year to plan this.”

Governor David Ige stands behind the Department of Education’s plan to keep kids safe.

“All of the schools do have procedures in place, depending on the specific circumstances, and are prepared to close a classroom, close several classrooms, close a building, or ultimately close a campus should there be an outbreak of COVID-19 on the campus,” said Ige.

Last week Tuesday marked the first official day of the new school year for most Hawaii public school students.

Since then, there have been 105 confirmed COVID cases among both students and staff.

The governor says it’s not surprising to him.

“For the first week of school, the number of cases we saw all across the state was in line with what the expectations were,” Ige said.

There are approximately 163,000 enrolled in Hawaii public schools.

Despite the 105 confirmed COVID cases, the state says there has been no evidence of transmission on DOE campuses.

DOE officials say based on the Department of Health’s latest guidance, schools are enforcing four core essential strategies: promoting vaccinations, staying home when sick, masks and proper hand hygiene. They say physical distancing is applied to “the greatest extent possible.”

However, some parents say with cases spiking, and given the latest round of restrictions, the school guidance is outdated.

“If they’re not enforcing social distancing, then why are they enforcing it at other places,” said the parent who asked to remain anonymous.

Another grandparent, who also spoke anonymously, complained that students at her grandchild’s elementary school were sharing desks.

The governor says the risks are worth it.

“We all need to be committed so that our students can return to the best learning environment they have which is in person learning,” he said.

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