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COVID-19 Case Counts From Hawaiʻi Charter Schools Now Available Online

Sophia McCullough

COVID-19 case counts from Hawaiʻi's charter schools are now publicly available for the first time — broken down by school, island, and date of occurrence.

The State Public Charter School Commission had been reporting the numbers to the state Department of Health and Department of Education, but the cases were not compiled online or included in the overall data from public schools.

PJ Foehr, interim deputy director of the commission, spoke to The Conversation about the new data portal which will be updated every Friday.

"We've been getting more requests. So we let our schools know, 'Hey, we'll be posting these numbers. Please continue to inform us so that we can make sure we have accurate numbers,'" he said. "I think our schools probably mirror the spread of this variant pretty well. Obviously, we're not immune to it."

In the last week, there were six COVID-19 cases among five Hawaiʻi Island charter schools, and seven cases among two Oʻahu charter schools — Kamaile Academy and Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau, according to the dashboard. Kauaʻi and Maui each reported one case.

Two Hawaiʻi Island charter schools and five Oʻahu charter schools — including Kamaile Academy and Ke Kula ʻo Samuel M. Kamakau — have reportedly moved to distance learning with return dates ranging from Aug. 20 to Sept. 13, according to the dashboard.

"The schools are in a tough spot, right? Because the reality is you have parents and community members who want children in school no matter what and others who don't want them in school. So our schools are working hard to navigate what's best for their community," Foehr told Hawaiʻi Public Radio.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Aug. 19, 2021. Foehr also appeared on The Conversationon Aug. 10.

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 ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
Sophia McCullough is a digital news producer. Contact her at news@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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