Big Island Coronavirus Updates

HIDOE to Implement Weekly COVID-19 Testing Requirement for Employees, Volunteers

August 13, 2021, 2:15 PM HST
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All Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) employees will be required to be tested weekly for COVID-19 beginning Aug. 23 to comply with a recent vaccination mandate passed down by Gov. David Ige.

On Aug. 5, Ige announced in a press conference that all state and county employees would be required to test weekly for the virus or get inoculated. If an HIDOE employee can certify and provide proof of full vaccination, the employee will not be subject to the weekly testing requirement. This requirement applies to all HIDOE employees, including salaried and casuals/substitutes, as well as volunteers.

“COVID-19 vaccines are the leading public health prevention strategy to stop the pandemic. As Hawaii’s largest state agency, the Department of Education plays a critical role in advancing the state’s vaccination rate in the fight against COVID,” interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said. “Encouraging vaccinations and implementing this weekly testing requirement in addition to our core essential strategies will help protect our ability to provide safe, in-person learning for our students.”

HIDOE employees who opt not to become vaccinated will be required to be tested weekly for COVID-19 at the employee’s expense and during non-work hours.

Beginning Aug. 15, employees can begin to access the Department’s electronic human resource system (eHR) to attest to their vaccination status, upload documentation, and/or provide weekly COVID-19 test results.

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Any documentation related to vaccination status or test results obtained for purposes of this requirement will not be disclosed to individuals other than as necessary to ensure compliance with the governor’s emergency proclamation.

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All employees were notified today by memorandum of the requirements and other details.

HIDOE staff was prioritized for COVID-19 vaccines as “frontline essential workers” back in January giving teachers, bus drivers, custodians and other education staff early access to vaccinations. The Department encouraged everyone willing to be vaccinated to take advantage of the opportunity and worked with the state Department of Health to provide access to vaccination sites.

Soon after a vaccine was authorized for adolescents 12 and older, the Department began standing up school-based vaccination clinics in early May to make access as easy and convenient as possible for students and families.

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According to the HIDOE stats for July 30 to Aug. 6, the following schools reported a COVID-19 case:

  • EB De Silva Elementary, one case, last reported on campus on Aug. 5
  • Hilo High School, two cases, reported on campus on July 28 and 29.
  • Kealakehe Intermediate, one case, last reported on campus on July 30.
  • Keonepoko Elementary, one case, last reported on campus on Aug. 2.
  • Keaʻau Middle, two cases, not on campus.

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