Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i to Transition to Distance Learning Thursday

August 12, 2020, 8:08 PM HST
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Kamehameha Schools Logo. PC: KSBE.edu

Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i will transition to distance learning for at least the rest of August after a case of COVID-19 was identified in a high school student on its Big Island campus Wednesday.

The news was sent to educators at the school in an email a little before 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

“Our organization has been keenly aware of the evolving COVID-19 surge in different parts of our state, and especially those positive cases that hit closer to home affecting our own KS ‘ohana,” Po‘o Kula, Kamehameha Hawaiʻi M. Kāhealani Naeʻole-Wong wrote in the message. “These cases and the situation have caused concern and (indicate) a larger community spread. While this situation remains fluid, we too need to be adaptive and pivot quickly in response to these changing conditions.”

“We will continue to act with an abundance of caution and care, recognizing individual unease and the concerns of our ‘ohana members, and thus, in the interest of health and safety of haumāna, kumu, and ‘ohana, our kula will transition to full distance learning beginning tomorrow, August 13, through at least August 31,” the message continued.

Kamehameha Schools’ Hawai‘i Island Campus in Kea‘au went into lockdown Wednesday morning after a high school student there tested positive for coronavirus, Big Island Now first reported Wednesday night.

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The school enforced the lockdown during first period, which was extended campus-wide to students at the elementary, intermediate, and high school levels. KS Hawai‘i administrators then began dismissing students for the day.

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There was no indication as of Wednesday evening that multiple students had been infected, though it could take days or weeks to know for certain if there was any spread throughout the student body and, if so, how extensive that spread might be.

However, KS Hawai‘i leadership wrote in a letter sent to parents Wednesday that they had confirmed the source of the infection was not a member of KS faculty, any KS student, or any KS facility.

School leadership said it continues to believe the campus and those who frequent it are at a “moderate risk level.” However, the decision has been made to err on the side of caution.

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Safety leaders at KS Hawai‘i will evaluate the situation throughout the month of August to see if it’s possible to return to on-campus instruction by the end of the month, the message continued. Updates will be shared as they develop.

“Our intention is to keep (the) campus open for business other than student instruction during this time of distance learning unless county or state orders dictate otherwise,” the message to educators read.

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