Punahou Health Response

Select Key Pandemic Measures

Total Population Fully Vaccinated in Hawai‘i

O‘ahu New Cases 7-Day Average

O‘ahu Test Positivity 7-Day Average

97%

K – 12 Faculty
Fully Vaccinated

94%

Students Vaccinated
(age 12+)

O‘ahu Case Count

O‘ahu Test Positivity

Figure includes students fully vaccinated and those currently scheduled for their second shot.
* Data is updated as it becomes available. Confirmed testing numbers are posted by the State up to 48 hours later than case data.

School Community

Junior School Summer School

  • his week three individuals in our summer program reported an exposure to a person infected with COVID-19. All of the affected members are safely quarantining at home and remain asymptomatic. There were no known exposure incidents on campus this week.

Updated July 26, 2021

Academy Summer School

  • There were no notifications of exposures or infections among participants in this program. There were no known exposure events on campus this week.

Updated July 26, 2021

Summer Athletics

  • This week two members of this program reported a diagnosis of COVID-19. One individual was not on campus while infectious and is recovering well. The second individual did come on campus before symptoms started and during a likely infectious period. Those who were exposed were notified, and those who were fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine.

Updated July 26, 2021

School Health Update

August 25, 2021

Aloha Families,
 
With the rise in COVID-related hospitalizations across our state due to the Delta variant, we wanted to take this opportunity to share our assessment of our current safety measures and what we are doing to make our campus safer for students.
 
First, we firmly believe that our campus provides one of the safest environments for your child. In addition to our safety protocols, such as universal mask wearing and regular hand hygiene, our K – 12 faculty vaccination rate is over 97%. Our data about eligible students who are vaccinated also suggests that our community of families is significantly more vaccinated than the general population – 90% of our eligible students are vaccinated vs. 75% of the O‘ahu population currently eligible for the vaccine. Throughout the pandemic, the data have also consistently shown that the greatest risk to unvaccinated children still remains social gatheringstravel and household transmission, not school settings. Punahou remains, in short, one of the safest places for your children to be.
 
Still, no environment is totally risk free, and we do know that COVID can affect children. While vaccines have dramatically reduced the risk of serious illness for those who have received them, and reports of serious illness in children due to COVID remain rare, we are closely watching the impact of the Delta variant on children both in our state and within our school community. As always, we will be transparent in reporting these figures so that you are informed.
 
Over the past two weeks, we have been notified of 14 infections among our total population of nearly 4,600 students and employees. One individual was on campus while in their infectious period during a school day, resulting in one classroom having to quarantine. Fortunately, all of these cases have been mild and there have been no reports of on-campus transmission. We are grateful that in all of these cases, individuals have notified the School as quickly as possible.
 
This year, we enacted a revised set of on-campus safety protocols based on everything we have learned since the beginning of the pandemic. Our goal has been to do more of what we know works, and less of what we now know is less effective. For example, just as many of us no longer sanitize our groceries, Punahou no longer mandates the use of partitions in classrooms because of their limited efficacy. Instead, we have followed guidance from the CDC and Hawai‘i State Department of Health and focused on a core set of measures that, taken together, provide a scientifically proven, multi-layered approach to safety while also allowing for as much “normal” school experience as possible. We will continually review our measures and share any changes and additions we feel are necessary to keep our children safe.
 
What WE are doing to keep our children safe:
  • Continued enforcement of campus-wide, universal mask mandate indoors and outdoors.
  • Strong enforcement of the stay-home-if-sick policy and use of the Daily Health Check-in App.
  • Any unvaccinated student who is out sick must receive a negative COVID test from a commercial lab prior to readmission.
  • All K – 6 faculty will undergo weekly COVID testing, regardless of their vaccination status. (This new policy is designed to provide an extra layer of protection for our unvaccinated students in the Junior School).
  • All K – 6 indoor activities will continue to be limited to individual cohorts.
  • Meals will be held outdoors as much as possible, particularly in K – 6.
  • All student athletes are required to be vaccinated in order to participate in interscholastic athletics.
  • There will be no spectators at Punahou athletic events until further notice, consistent with state restrictions.
  • There will be no student travel or field trips until further notice.
  • Outdoor activities, such as recess, are considered low risk when children are masked. However, we will enhance playground supervision to ensure children observe personal space as much as possible.
  • Ongoing sanitation of rooms and surfaces and encouragement of hand washing.
  • Anticipated on-campus vaccination clinics once the vaccine is approved for those under 12 years of age.
  • Continued sharing of information in a timely manner on our punahou.edu/health website.
What YOU can do to keep our children safe:
  • Make sure that all eligible individuals within your household are vaccinated.
  • Keep your children home if they are sick and immediately notify the School through the Daily Health Check-in App or by contacting covidresponse@punahou.edu.
  • Limit social gatherings, parties and events, particularly those where masks are not worn around people outside your households.
  • Reduce extra-curricular activities for your children, particularly those that take place indoors.
  • Avoid taking your children to crowded restaurants, movie theaters and indoor food courts.
  • Have your children wear well-fitting masks made of non-woven materials (such as those found in a medical mask sized for children).
  • Talk to your children and practice how to maintain personal space around others outside your household. 
  • Avoid all non-essential off-island travel.
There is a lot that we can do individually, but even more that we can do together. The strong partnership between the School and our families is an essential part of our approach to safety. We will continue to share information and policy updates with you and, as always, welcome your thoughts and suggestions.
 
Thank you for your ongoing support and care for our community,
 
The Pandemic Response Team

Past Updates

List of 1 items.

  • Aug 11, 2021

    Dear Punahou Community,

    As we welcome you to the start of the new school year, we want to take a moment to update you on our enhanced safety measures to help promote the health of our school community.

     
    The recent surge of the Delta variant in Hawaiʻi and across the country calls for increased precaution and vigilance. As always, we will put the safety of our students and employees at the center of everything we do, following the latest guidelines for schools from the Hawaiʻi Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    First and foremost, we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccines are the single most effective way of protecting people from the most serious effects of COVID-19. They are free, readily available and proven to save lives.

    To date, over 97% of our K-12 faculty and over 85% of our eligible students are vaccinated. And this number continues to go up. Our younger students, however, are not yet eligible for the vaccine, so we urge all household members of these students to get vaccinated promptly, if they have not done so already. While no environment is risk free, our data indicates that our community is significantly more vaccinated than the general population.

    Our safety measures continue to focus on preventing people infected with COVID-19 from being on campus and then mitigating the impact of possible transmission on campus, with a focus on indoor spaces. Please note, some of these measures have been put in place/reinstated since the sharing of the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for K – 12 Families on July 12 and should be considered to supersede previous policies.
    • We will continue to require students, faculty and staff to report any symptoms each morning through our Daily Health Check-in App. Students and their families are required to notify the School (through their student’s Dean or the Pandemic Response Team) if they are exposed to an infected individual or have a positive test result.
    • We will also enact a more stringent readmission policy, requiring anyone who is unvaccinated and out with an illness to receive a negative COVID test before returning to campus.
    • We will ask all families and employees to inform us of out-of-state travel, so we can monitor the health of those returning from travel and ensure that those who are not vaccinated complete our post-travel testing and quarantine requirements.
    • Students and employees who have not been cleared to return to campus due to illness, travel, routine testing, or quarantine will not be allowed to stay in class if they come to school.
    • Across our campus, we will continue to enforce the universal mask mandate. This means that until further notice, all persons, regardless of their vaccination status, must wear a mask both indoors and outdoors on campus.
    • In kindergarten through grade 5, students will remain in their classroom cohorts, limiting the indoor mixing of students during the school day.
    • All student athletes will now be required to be fully vaccinated in order to participate in interscholastic athletics.
    • Once a vaccine is approved for those under 12 years of age, we will hold vaccination clinics on campus, as we did for our older students this past spring.
    • Finally, our campus continues to be closed to the general public. Invited visitors to campus will undergo symptom screening and other safety precautions.
    While there is much that we are doing as a school to protect our community, we can’t do it alone. This is a shared responsibility that requires a shared response. Each one of us, in our own lives, can help by continuing to wear masks and avoiding large gatherings, especially indoors. If you think you may have been exposed to the virus, get tested. And if you are not feeling well, it is important to stay home, seek medical advice and also get tested.

    We will likely see cases in our school community this year, just as we did last year. As always, we will continue to be as transparent as possible, reporting on the health status of our school and sharing data to keep you informed. We will follow the most up-to-date guidelines from the CDC and the Department of Health. We will also adjust our operations where necessary and ask for your continued cooperation. Thank you for your support in following these guidelines, and we look forward to a healthy and successful school year ahead.

    If you have any questions, please contact us at: healthresponse@punahou.edu.

Pandemic Response Team

Across our School, teachers, staff, parents and students have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in adapting to new and often challenging conditions. As health conditions continue to steadily improve in Hawai‘i and businesses and schools prepare to reopen, we look forward to once again welcoming students, faculty and staff back to our beautiful campus.

Our planning effort has been guided by the thoughtful work of the Pandemic Response Team, a task force composed of faculty and staff representing the entire K – 12 campus:

  • James Kakos, Academy Assistant Principal,
    (Co-Chair)
  • Virginia Loo, Director of Analytics and Planning,
    (Co-Chair)
  • Jim LaClair, Chief Information Officer
  • Todd Funasaki, Director of Technology Services
  • Robert Gelber, Director of Communications
  • Tony Tran, Associate Director, Human Resources
  • Cheryl Prather, Associate Director of Communications
  • Charlotte Kamikawa, Director of Physical Plant
  • Jon Koshiba, Academy Dean
  • Denise Hoke, Assistant Treasurer
  • Shige Minami, Infrastructure Technology Director
  • Anna Liem, Academy Academic Services Coordinator
  • Chase Mitsuda, Junior School Assistant Principal
  • Sally Mingarelli, Academy Assistant Principal
  • Todd Chow-Hoy, Junior School Principal
  • Darryl Funai, Interim Head Athletic Trainer
  • Trisha Caley, Academy Special Terms Director
  • Reet Ashford-Hirano, Academy Dean
  • Andy Nelson, Outdoor Education Coordinator
  • Erika Buder-Nakasone, Executive Assistant, Athletics Department
  
  

Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about School policy, please contact: healthresponse@punahou.edu

Support

We are aware that feelings of anxiety can be heightened in situations such as this. The American Psychological Association provides a helpful online guide for how to talk to children about difficult news.

Important Resources

The following websites provide important information about the spread of this disease along with overseas travel guidelines:

Avoiding Bias

Periods of pandemics are often accompanied by xenophobia and expressions of cultural insensitivity. These run contrary to Punahou’s core values and will not be tolerated in accordance with our school’s Code of Conduct.

The following resources help to dispel common myths and shed light on the ways in which our society might better respond to this outbreak: