Dear parents and guardians,
The Hawai'i State Department of Education (HIDOE) is working closely with the Hawai'i Department of Health (DOH) on guidance to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) to our campuses.
The following guidance from DOH has been issued for education organizations:
- There is no recommendation to exclude faculty, staff or students from school if they returned to Hawai'i from mainland China prior to Feb. 3, 2020, and they do not have symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath.
- Schools should expect students, faculty or staff who have traveled to mainland China to have documentation of clearance by DOH if they returned to Hawai'i on Feb. 3, 2020 or later.
- DOH will contact the school if a student, faculty or staff member is identified for home monitoring, and will provide a time period when the individual should not be at school.
- Either quarantine or home monitoring will apply to travelers returning to Hawai'i who were in mainland China in the previous 14 days.
School-related travel to mainland China for HIDOE students, faculty and staff is suspended indefinitely. Though the immediate health risk in Hawai'i is low for 2019-nCoV, we recognize the seriousness of the situation and encourage everyone to stay informed with credible sources.
Given the time of year, it is also important to emphasize that the best way to prevent the transmission of respiratory illness is by doing the following:
- Get vaccinated against the flu. With current seasonal influenza activity, similar signs and symptoms such as fever and cough could be mistaken for the coronavirus. DOH strongly recommends residents ages 6 months and older to protect themselves by receiving the seasonal flu vaccination.
- Stay home when sick.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, before eating and after going to the bathroom.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
For more information, visit https://health.hawaii.gov/docd/advisories/novel-coronavirus-2019/.
Dr. Christina Kishimoto