(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi students, already on Spring Break for the coming week, will now stay home for another week until March 30.
Governor David Ige made the announcement during a press conference held on Sunday afternoon, as officials announced three new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the state of Hawaiʻi. These are reported to be travel related cases, and officials say the State still has not seen cases stemming from community spread, as of yet. None of the new cases is on Hawaiʻi Island.
UPDATE (2:30 p.m.) – The Hawaiʻi Department of Education issued this media release on Sunday afternoon:
The Hawaiʻi State Department of Education (HIDOE) is extending its spring break through March 27 for all public and charter school students. The Department will use the additional time from March 23-27 to plan for implementation of social distancing within the school setting, arrange for professional development to support modified operations, and thoroughly clean schools.
Mililani Middle, Kapolei Middle and Holomua Elementary will be off multi-track schedules for two weeks from March 16-27. Normal school operations for all schools are expected to resume Monday, March 30. Spring break was originally scheduled to run from March 16-20 for most HIDOE schools, and Thursday, March 26, is Prince Kuhio Day, which is a state holiday.
“We understand the impact this will have on our families. This was not an easy decision to make but we take seriously our responsibility to safeguard the health and safety of our students, staff and the broader community while carrying out our educational mission,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “Public schools serve as hubs of care in our communities, from access to health care to providing free and reduced price meals. We intend to restart school immediately once it is deemed safe to do so to reduce disruption to our school communities and provide consistency for our children.”
All planned school and Department-coordinated events of more than 100 attendees are being canceled, effective Monday, March 16, until updated guidance is provided by health officials. Graduation ceremonies, which are normally held in mid-to-late May, have not yet been modified; scheduling announcements will be made at a future date.
Hawaiʻi Island State Representative Nicole Lowen was the first to say an extended school closure was in the works. “Announcement coming soon that Hawai’i schools will be closed until at least March 30th,” she posted on Facebook. “Possible extension of the closure will be assessed as situation continues to evolve. I will share additional details as I get them. Please continue to wash hands, practice social distancing, etc. This is not a drill!”
The extended closure will only entail four school days because it will include the Prince Kūhiō Day state holiday, Governor Ige said.
The governor also said things are changing on a day-to-day basis and plans could also change.