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Efforts to Expand COVID-19 Testing in Schools for Upcoming Year

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 becomes more dominant in the state, Hawai‘i’s public schools continue to prepare for the upcoming fall semester.

Department of Health Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble told The Conversation that efforts are underway to expand testing in schools. They will build on the department’s pilot testing programs for students and staff that rolled out at some O’ahu schools over the summer.

She says right now, the main obstacle is not the supply of test kits.

"It’s really about the manpower on the ground to make the testing actually happen, the people to perform the testing and coordinate it," she said. "That’s been a heavier lift, and that’s why some of the tests are ready to be used but we also need to get the infrastructure stood up to make that testing happen."

Kemble says the top factor that will help students return to school in the fall is the COVID-19 vaccine.

She says when everyone who is eligible gets the vaccine, the community is also providing a cocoon of protection for our young keiki.

This segment aired on The Conversation on July 7, 2021.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at
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