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Return to blended, in-person learning postponed at 20 Maui schools

Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Maui County, schools in the Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex area will continue in full distance learning models today through at least Feb. 1.

Baldwin-Kekaulike-Maui Complex Area Superintendent Kathleen Dimino made the announcement in a letter to staff, parents and guardians on Monday.

“We are constantly reflecting and adjusting as we encounter new challenges due to the dynamic nature of this pandemic,” she wrote in the letter. “We appreciate your patience and ask for your continued support as we welcome the second semester.”

Although there were no COVID-19 impacts to any of the campuses in the complex over winter break, Dimino said the county was seeing an increase in cases and that the decision was being made out of an abundance of caution. The complex includes 20 schools and nearly 9,000 students.

The schools had been in distance learning models during the first and second quarters this year, but had planned to transition to blended learning models this month, which involved some in-person classes.

“This decision had to be made quickly to adjust to changing conditions,” said the Hawaii Department of Education in a statement. “The issue regarding the COVID-19 clusters was brought to light on New Year’s Day. The complex area was unable to immediately reach [Department of Health] for consultation. All principals met with the complex area superintendent over the weekend to discuss further action.”

Maui County currently has an average new case count of 25, and test positivity rate of 3.3%, according to the state Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Along with the letter sent on Monday, the announcement was made via school social media channels and automated calls were also placed to families of affected students.

Other complex areas that cover Molokai, Lanai and some Maui schools are not affected.

The Hana-Lahainaluna-Lanai-Molokai Complex Area will resume with the same learning models from Quarter 2 in Quarter 3, except for Hana High & Elementary School, which has transitioned from hybrid to in-person learning.

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