LIHU‘E — On Friday, the state Department of Education reported 664 COVID-19 cases between Aug. 19 and 26. Twenty-five of those cases were on Kaua‘i.
Kalaheo School reported two new cases, one at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Middle, four at Kapa‘a Elementary, two at Kapa‘a High, five at Kapa‘a Middle, two at King Kaumuali‘i Elementary, one at Kilauea, one at Waimea Canyon Middle, one at Waimea High and three at Wilcox Elementary.
This brings Kaua‘i’s total number of DOE students and staff infected with COVID-19 since July 8 to 55.
Daily counts last week reflected a slight fluctuation due to the department’s transition to a new online case-reporting system.
After mounting frustrations from parents and educators, Friday DOE launched an interactive dashboard on its website to display confirmed COVID-19 case data at its 257 public schools and other department offices.
“This dashboard was designed with parents in mind as we work to build confidence in the critical work our schools are doing to keep schools open and safe for learning,” DOE Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said.
“It’s part of our commitment to continuously improve communication and transparency as we build trust with our communities. We encourage everyone to take a look at the data for themselves and see what we’re seeing — that schools are not amplifiers of COVID-19 transmission because of the mitigation protocols schools are enforcing,” he said.
The dashboard reporting system will replace the department’s news releases of weekly case reports.
The dashboard includes confirmed and probable COVID-19 case information from the state, district, complex area and school levels. Case counts are displayed by date reported and with a cumulative running total of cases since July 1.
The 2021-22 school year began July 8 for students at multi-track schools and Aug. 3 for all other schools.
In accordance with state law, the dashboard also includes the date each case was reported to the department and the date the positively tested individual was last on a school campus.
Data will now be updated daily, Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), prior to the close of business. This was one of the requests made by the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association union at its Aug. 18 press conference. Daily case counts will reflect confirmed COVID-19 cases reported the day prior. Reported cases that still require confirmation or processing are not included in the totals.
While community transmission levels remain high, the DOE has no known cases of students getting sick with COVID-19 as a result of coming to school, and there is no evidence of clusters on DOE campuses, according to the department.
Laurel Smith, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.