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Editorial | Off the News

Off the News: Distance-learning firm needs schooling

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Following last week’s back-to-school briefings at public schools, virtual classes are now underway. But this pivot for most of the statewide system is far from trouble-free. In addition to a shortage of laptops and other devices, the Education Department is now responding to complaints about a distance-learning program.

Some schools recently dropped courses offered by Acellus, a company based in Kansas City, Mo., after parents and educators objected to content they found sexist, racist and unsuitable. It’s a good thing that school principals have at least a few other options at the ready for online learning platforms.

More contact tracers welcome

After recent confusion and disappointment over the state Health Department’s tepid deployment of contact tracers for coronavirus cases, it’s encouraging to see the city now poised for “more aggressive” action on that front.

Thanks partly to weighty support from the visiting U.S. surgeon general, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the city will soon hire 250 to 500 contact tracers, to supplement the state’s corp, which last week stood at 126 tracers and 13 support staff. Medical experts have estimated Hawaii’s needs at 420 to 560 contact tracers. This is just one vital means of lowering Hawaii’s COVID-19 case count, and to keep it low.

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