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Hawaii News

Private schools extend break, plan online classes

Many Hawaii private schools are extending their spring break through the end of March and plan to begin online classes in April, while two schools acknowledged that people associated with their campuses were being tested for COVID-19.

‘Iolani School said at least one parent and Mid-Pacific Institute said three members of its school community were undergoing testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Results were not yet available Tuesday.

The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools recommended Tuesday that “in the interest of getting ahead of the community spread of the virus through the 34,000+ students and 3,000+ employees of Hawaii’s independent schools, all schools should consider closing their campuses for at least four weeks and moving academic programs to online or home-based formats if at all possible.”

Mid-Pacific already had announced it would close its campus for at least four weeks until April 12. It is on spring break and will offer online education from April 1 through 12 and perhaps longer. The school has 1,530 students from preschool through 12th grade.

“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 to the Mid-Pacific ohana posted on the school’s website Monday. “If any member of our community tests positive, we will share more information with you as it becomes available.”

‘Iolani School suspended academic operations Monday on campus due to coronavirus concerns, four days ahead of spring break. Head of School Timothy Cottrell announced Sunday that at least one parent was being tested for COVID-19. The school will begin distance-­based academic operations March 30 until further notice.

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 to resume classes on campus or continue distance learning through May 28.

Hawaii Baptist Academy’s spring break will extend through March 31, and the school will shift to online learning from April 1 to 9. Its campuses, which serve more than 1,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, will be shut until April 12.

Meanwhile, St. Andrew’s Schools is extending spring break for three days through April 1 for The Priory and The Prep, and will switch to online learning on April 2 until further notice.

The superintendent of Hawaii Catholic Schools said all 25 of its parochial schools and early learning centers have been instructed to close until March 27, extending their spring breaks. That is the same plan announced by Hawaii public schools last week.

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