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Hawaii Updates: In-Person School Classes Ended; AG: Stay-At-Home Extension Likely; Eviction Ban Set

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Washington.

Updated: 4/17/2020, 3:52 p.m.


Hawaii's public schools will be closed to in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year and will be administering classwork via online and physical work packets, the state Department of Education announced today.


School Superintendent Christina Kishimoto says individual principals have the responsibility of tracking which students are participating in the distance-learning classwork, although they are not currently required to report that to DOE because the workload for administrators has been very high.


Third-quarter grades will be the final grade for the school year, but for students who were at risk of failing, teachers will be using fourth-quarter distance learning to get them up to speed, she said.


AG: Extension of state emergency order likely, eviction moratorium in place


Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors says the state's emergency order requiring residents to stay at home will likely be extended beyond April 30. She told state senators today that the extension would apply to a newly imposed eviction moratorium imposed under a supplemental order signed yesterday in the continuing response to COVID-19.


The fifth supplemental order closes a loophole that had allowed evictions for material breaches of a rental agreement, such as failure to pay rent, despite a state policy that had generally put a stop to evictions during the current crisis.


Under the eviction moratorium, landlords are also prohibited from moving out renters and tenants for failure to pay maintenance fees, utilities and taxes required by rental or lease agreements.


Legal proceedings for an eviction are also suspended under the latest order, Connors said.


The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has received as many as 50 calls per day about evictions, according to Catherine Awakuni Colon, department director.


Other parts of the supplemental order explicitly closes all state beaches, trails and sandbars and imposes stricter social distancing requirements for activities like fishing. The state said people continue to violate the mandatory stay-at-home order and ban on large social gatherings.


The order also requires employees and customers of essential businesses to wear masks, although similar requirements are already in place on Oahu and Kauai.


Where Hawaii stands


The state's confirmed and presumed positive coronavirus cases number 553 today, up 12 from the previous day, according to the state's latest daily update. The death count stands at nine. 

Oahu's case count is now 380, Maui's 102, Hawaii County's 44, and Kauai County's 21. Zero cases are pending determination of county and six were diagnosed out of state.

Travel-related cases have dropped and community-associated cases have been slowly rising.

Governor: Hawaii not yet ready to reopen


President Donald Trump yesterday issued guidelines to the governors on how they can reopen their states in three phases.


But Gov. David Ige says Hawaii isn’t a candidate yet.


"Unfortunately, at this time, we don't satisfy the criteria for phased opening. Notably, it requires a downward trajectory of cases for a 14-day period. We're making progress, but we're not there yet. So please continue your hard work and perseverance. We will get through this together," he said at a press conference.


Yesterday's Hawaii Updates: State Pay Cuts Possible; Maui Nursing Home Case


Phase one of the president's plan would require social distancing for people in public, with gatherings limited to 10 or less. Phase two would still require social distancing and limiting gatherings to 50 people or less, but travel could resume.


In phase three, the state could return to normal while focusing on identifying and isolating those with new infections.


Ige says the state will need to make difficult decisions before it can return to life as usual.


This includes dealing with an estimated $1.5 billion dollar state budget shortage caused by the coronavirus outbreak.


He says the state can expect a clearer picture of the state’s fiscal situation in May.


--HPR's Ashley Mizuo


Wahiawa General Hospital workers test positive


Two health care workers at Wahiawa General Hospital Nursing and Rehabilitation Center tested positive for the coronavirus, the state health department said.


The cases appear to be unrelated to each other and to a past case in March. Twelve people tied to the two latest cases have tested negative. 


Infection control measures and monitoring are continuing. 


Separately, two health care workers at the Wahiawa Center for Community Health have tested positive. A third worker also had COVID-19 and was hospitalized and appears to have been exposed while traveling. 


More visitors arrive in the islands


Another 105 visitors came to the state Wednesday, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. They were among 764 arrivals, who also included 480 residents. The returning residents included 300 National Guard soldiers who came home after deployment.


HPD say arrested visitor violated quarantine order


Honolulu police say they arrested a visitor yesterday for violating the state’s quarantine order.


The 37-year-old female was taken into custody in Kalihi after she failed to follow the emergency rules in effect because of COVID-19.


According to HPD, the visitor was warned and issued a citation and then was arrested.


Her bail was set at $500.


At a press conference, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the visitor on arrival gave a commercial address – not a hotel or residence where she would be staying. 


"We need better information on where people are staying than we’re getting," the mayor said. "We need better information from those at the airport on where people are staying. That requires an exact address of where they’re going – down to the apartment number." 


Asked about the mayor’s concern, Gov. David Ige said the state is evolving its procedures at airports and that the Hawaii National Guard could possibly help check visitor lodgings.


--HPR's Casey Harlow


This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Editor's note: We’d like to hear how you’re coping with the latest developments in dealing with the spread of the coronavirus. You can call our talkback line at 808-792-8217. Or e-mail us at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.

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