Despite COVID’s spread in Hawaii, DOE superintendent says ‘schools are safe’

Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi says students are safe on campus and they have no plans to shut schools for distance learning.
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 11:47 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 27, 2021 at 4:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Interim schools Superintendent Keith Hayashi sought to reassure parents and teachers Friday about in-person schooling, saying that mitigation measures like masks and social distancing are preventing the spread of COVID on campus.

“Right now, our schools are safe,” Hayashi said, on HNN’s Sunrise. “In-person learning is what we need to be doing. The data is telling us there is no spread in our schools.”

His statements come amid an ongoing surge in new COVID infections in the islands.

On Friday afternoon, the state Department of Education said Hawaii schools had seen 557 confirmed staff and student COVID cases from Monday through Thursday.

The DOE also released a new online dashboard that includes school-by-school cases.

Some teachers and parents are calling on the state to rethink in-person instruction ― moving back to distance learning or a hybrid format.

But others say that measures like masking are helping to prevent the spread of infections on campuses. Hawaii teachers and other school staff are also subject to the state’s vaccinate-or-test mandate.

Hawaii’s public schools resumed class Aug. 3.

This story will be updated.

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