Aloha mai kākou,
Mahalo nui i nā haumāna, nā ʻohana, a me nā limahana o Ke Kula ʻo Kamehameha no kā ʻoukou hana poʻokela ma ka hapahā mua o kēia makahiki, ma ka hoʻopalekana ʻana i kā mākou mau keiki, a no ka hoʻoikaika mau me ka lōkahi. Thank you to our Kamehameha Schools students, families and staff, for your amazing work this First Quarter, for keeping our keiki safe, and for staying strong and together. We are truly blessed and deeply grateful.
We started this school year with a commitment to in-person learning. To do this safely, we mandated that all our staff and students (ages 12+) register with us as vaccinated or test weekly. We coordinated testing at our sites and added a stronger mandate for participation in athletics. These requirements were part of our complete COVID-19 program of layered prevention.
Through the First Quarter, we maintained a strong testing program (approximately 1,400 tests per week), revealing case counts (approximately 35 per week) that tracked with statewide trends. Though we have kept the spread of cases low at our sites (four verified cases for SY21-22), there have been disruptions from quarantines (average absences approximately 9% overall; 14% unregistered students ages 12+). These disruptions correlated to community cases and our vaccination rates (75% of students ages 12+, 86% of staff).
Overall, we have enjoyed seeing our keiki return in person, and we believe we all can do more. Even with all our extra efforts, in-person time was lost, and experiences could have been even better. It is also clear from public and KS data that vaccination has a significant impact on infection rates, severity of illness, and absences, which affect in-person learning, quality of environment, and overall well-being.
Therefore, we are announcing these changes for the Second Semester (which starts on Jan. 4, 2022):
For KS staff: We appreciate that all of you have been working hard to keep our keiki safe and deliver the best possible in-person education. Yet, in this role of service to our keiki, each of us also knows that more is always asked of us, and we have accepted this as our privilege. For the Second Semester:
For KS students: We strongly encourage you and your family to vaccinate, if you can. This is for your and our school community’s safety, and so that as many as possible can fully benefit from the in-person school experiences we are working so hard to provide. It will also allow you to be ready for our next school year when we anticipate having stronger requirements. For the Second Semester:
Lastly, we ask that we all stay flexible, knowing that conditions and our understanding of COVID-19 will continue to evolve. We will continue to do our best to keep our keiki safe, while providing the best educational experiences possible. Your campus and program leaders will be communicating directly with you to share more details on these and other expectations for the remainder of the school year.
Ke Akua pū,
Kamehameha Schools Executive Leadership Team
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