29 new COVID-19 cases in Kaua‘i schools last week

LIHU‘E — The state Department of Education reported 426 COVID-19 cases between Sept. 3 and Sept. 9. Twenty-nine of those cases were on Kaua‘i.

Both Kapa‘a Middle and Kapa‘a Elementary schools reported five cases last week.

Kaua‘i High, Wilcox Elementary and Kekaha School had four cases each.

Kapa‘a High and Kaua‘i High both had three new cases.

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School Middle in Puhi and Kilauea School had two cases, and Waimea High had one.

Three of the total cases were notably not on campus since early to mid-August. The report does not make clear if these are newly reported cases or corrections for previously known cases.

Last week’s cases bring Kapa‘a Elementary’s total COVID cases to 23 since the start of the school year.

On Wednesday, DOE Interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi told elected officials that “it seems to be COVID-positive cases from the community that are appearing in our schools, versus spread or clustering within the schools.”

Low weekly case counts at individual schools appear to support Hayashi’s statement. However, when higher case counts emerge at schools, including Kapa’a Elementary, it is not possible to determine from the publicly available data if there is an active cluster at a school.

Elected officials favor transparency from schools.

On July 8 the state Legislature overrode Gov. David Ige’s veto to pass a bill that requires the DOE to publish a weekly report on schools that have reported positive COVID-19 cases. The DOE publishes updates daily.

“So, we fought for that data. And I think we have to rely upon it,” said state Rep. Della Au Belatti at a press briefing on Wednesday evening.

State Rep. and Education Committee member Justin H. Woodson agreed. “The more data that you have, the better and more informed decisions that you can make,” he said.

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Laurel Smith, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0424 or lsmith@thegardenisland.com.

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