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Private schools extend spring break and plan for online classes

Several private schools are extending their spring break through March and plan to begin online classes in April due to the threat of a coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii.

They include Mid-Pacific Institute, which said three people associated with the school are undergoing testing for COVID-19. That campus will be closed for four weeks.

“We were notified today that three members of the Mid-Pacific community are being tested for COVID-19,” President Paul Turnbull wrote in a message Monday to the Mid-Pacific Ohana posted on the school’s website. “If any member of our community tests positive, we will share more information with you as it becomes available.”

Mid-Pacific is already on spring break and plans to keep the campus closed until April 12. It will offer online education from April 1 through April 12 and perhaps longer. The school has 1,530 students from preschool through 12th grade.

“This closure follows our regularly scheduled Spring Break, effectively closing our physical space for 4 weeks,” Turnbull wrote. “We will be monitoring the state’s progress in mitigating community transmission of COVID-19 throughout this test closure and we will provide you with frequent updates regarding the possibility of extending the closure indefinitely.”

Punahou School is extending its spring break by two days through March 31 and will switch to distance learning on April 1. It will monitor conditions in April to determine whether or not to resume classes on campus or continue distance learning through May 28.

Maryknoll School has lengthened its spring break by another week through March 27th and is considering the possibility of offering instruction remotely after that.

“During this spring break extension, there will be no academic obligations expected of our students,” Maryknoll School President Perry Martin wrote to families. “Faculty and staff members will be using these additional days to finalize their Out-of-Classroom Learning Plans, in the event we are unable to meet in person in the future.”

‘Iolani School suspended academic operations Monday on campus due to coronavirus concerns, four days ahead of spring break. Head of school Dr. Timothy Cottrell said ‘Iolani was awaiting COVID-19 test results for at least one parent. The school said it would begin distance-based academic operations on Wednesday and will continue until further notice. The test results came back negative.

Hawaii Baptist Academy’s spring break will extend through March 31 and the school will shift to online learning from April 1 to 9, President Ron Shiira announced this morning. The high school, middle school and elementary school campuses will be shut from March 18 until April 12. HBA has more than 1,000 students in kindergarten through grade 12.

Punahou’s decision aimed to “stem the tide of the outbreak before it spreads beyond our health care system’s ability to deal with it,” Punahou President Michael Latham said in a letter to families posted on the school’s website. He added that Punahou has endured global pandemics, economic depression and two World Wars, the second of which led a temporary school closure.

“I know the days and weeks ahead will be a challenging time for our families and our school. But I also know that we have faced adversity in the past and emerged even stronger,” he said.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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