All Hawaii public school students should anticipate returning to campuses for full, in-person learning when the 2021-2022 school year begins in the fall, the Department of Education announced in a letter to parents on Monday.

Outgoing DOE Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said with vaccines available to kids 12 and older and ongoing safety practices in place, “all HIDOE schools will be fully open for daily, in-person learning” starting Aug. 3. This includes extracurricular activities like clubs, band and athletics.

Honowai Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher May Anne Kim in her classroom as students recite the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’.
Hawaii public schools plan to resume full in-person learning in the fall, including extracurricular activities. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Kishimoto said that since June 2020, there have been more than 800 cases of COVID-19 tied to the school system, but said there has been no transmission of the virus directly within any DOE facilities.

She added that the safety of students and staff members remains a top priority.

“All of our high schools have been paired with health care providers to offer vaccinations to interested students and families, and we are now focusing on our middle school campuses,” Kishimoto said in the letter. “Additionally the Department is finalizing plans for weekly COVID testing at select pilot schools to further contain spread in our school communities.”

The announcement comes amid a strong push to vaccinate younger Hawaii residents, including with vaccine clinics on school campuses.
Everyone who is 12 and older in the islands can get a vaccine.

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