The Hawaii Department of Education said Wednesday that it has been working with the Department of Health “to closely monitor the impacts of the omicron variant” in preparation for the return of students and staff.

The DOE said it remains committed to full in-person learning during the second semester that begins Monday.

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“We’ve seen the benefits of in-person learning for our students’ social development and academic achievement and while we remain vigilant due to the omicron variant, we have consistent safety measures in place that have proven effective at mitigating the spread of Covid-19 in our schools,” interim Superintendent Keith Hayashi said in a press release. “Core safety protocols such as getting vaccinated and boosted, masking, social distancing and hand-washing have helped keep our positivity rates lower than the broader community, as well as our counterparts on the mainland.”

DOE teachers are scheduled to return from winter break on Monday while students are scheduled to return on Tuesday.

School leaders have been revisiting contingency plans and preparing for potential situations “that may require modifications to in-person instruction. Should any transitions need to occur, schools will notify their staff and families directly.”

On Thursday, the DOH reported that Hawaii’s Covid case count soared to a record high of 3,484 new infections.

On December 1, DOE schools collectively reported seeing a daily average of 19 positive cases across nearly 42,000 staff and 160,000 students.

The DOE advises the following:

  • promote vaccinations;
  • conduct daily wellness checks;
  • anyone feeling sick should stay home;
  • wear masks at all times indoors; and
  • practice proper hand hygiene.

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