Despite few virus cases, Hawaii hesitant to open schools

By: | July 29, 2020

The principal of the only school on Lanai thought reopening with full, in-person instruction next month was a no brainer: The Hawaiian island has had no confirmed coronavirus cases, and breezes flow through many of the school’s classrooms.

But even there, faculty pushed back, said Lanai High and Elementary School Principal Elton Kinoshita. In the end, only kindergartners and first-graders will meet face to face daily.

While Hawaii has one of the lowest rates of cases per capita in the country and many schools have open-air campuses, the challenges of returning kids full time to classrooms may still be insurmountable. Many residents live in multigenerational homes and fear for their elderly relatives, many schools lack the classroom space to allow for desks to be 6 feet (2 meters) apart, and the state is a major tourist destination and could see a rise in cases if restrictions are eased.

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