School officials announce Aug. 4 reopening date

LIHU‘E — Hawai‘i officials Monday announced plans to reopen schools to students on Aug. 4. Teachers are set to return July 29.

The decision was announced during a joint news conference Monday afternoon in which Gov. David Ige cited the state’s decision to push back the pre-travel testing program to Sept. 1 as one of the reasons to move forward with HIDOE’s reopening date. He stated, “We do not want to reopen our schools and receive more travelers simultaneously. A phased approach will help ensure a safe return for our students and minimize other factors that could lead to the spread of COVID-19 that we have been able to carefully manage so far.”

To minimize the spread of COVID-19, DOH has advised the Hawaii Department Of Education to use a symptom screening checklist for staff and students, which is included in HIDOE’s Return to Learn Health and Safety Handbook.

“The Department of Health has been working closely with the DOE on ensuring the safe reopening of schools,” said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “We will continue to work with the DOE in assisting them to ensure their staff are fully informed, response plans are in place, and safe practices and reporting protocols are ready prior to the opening of schools.”

State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said, “The planning process has followed CDC recommendations and DOH guidance on ohana bubbles, masking, and distancing variations by age. These measures will not completely eliminate possible cases, but they will reduce the risk to students and control the spread of illness in schools.”

Officials said Monday as the situation evolves or as new health and safety guidance becomes available, the State will adjust plans to ensure that a safe learning and working environment is provided for students, teachers, and staff.

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