Doctor calls school mitigation efforts ‘grossly inadequate’ and expects to see cases spread on campuses

Coronavirus

HONOLULU(KHON2) — Dr. Scott Miscovich, president of Premier Medical Group, is calling out the Hawaii Department of Education (HDOE) for what he considers is a lack of adequate planning.

“To not have a plan set for our children, when we have more than enough time to plan it, I believe, is putting them at risk and grossly negligent.”

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The state superintendent Keith Hayashi said they continue to “prioritize in person learning.”

Hayashi went on to explain that decisions are being left to the principal and complex superintendents to handle as they arise. He said there is no trigger point that would shift schools to distance learning because every school is unique.

Hayashi added that the core mitigation strategies they’ve had in place since the beginning of the school year have definitely proven to be effective.

Miscovich disagrees.

“(DOE mitigation strategies) are grossly inadequate,” Miscovich explained. “Basically, if you go look at these guidelines, they were never changed since November. They were never adjusted with omicron. Even when they were initially written, they were totally inadequate.”

He believes high risk students should be distance learning.

“If your child has any type of health risk is diabetic or immunosuppressed, or on specific medicines, or is obese with a BMI over 30. They shouldn’t be in school. ”

Limited distance learning options are available, parents are advised to talk to their school principal if they are interested in it. But Dr. Alan Wu of Doctors of Waikiki said it should be more accessible for those who want it, and that DOE needs to have a contingency plan.

“There’s some thoughts about maybe going back to maybe half virtual and half in-person until this wave dies down a little bit,” Wu said. “I think that’s something to be considered also.”

School has been back in session just four days.

Since then 1,150 students and staff members tested positive.

The DOE points out that these cases are not spread from being on campus. The virus was likely acquired during winter break.

According to the DOE COVID dashboard, they account for .62% of the 185,038 students and teachers on campuses statewide.

Miscovich said there will be spread on school campuses unless changes are made. The first is masks.

“If you look at indoor environments, the number one protective measure is masking,” said Miscovich. “Yet, we still have a wild west where the kids can wear any types of masks.”

According to him, they all need to wear N95 masks that fit them properly.

The second thing that needs to be addressed is ventilation.

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“Washing hands, yeah, of course, we have to wash hands, but that’s not how you prevent COVID,” Miscovich explained. “It’s a respiratory virus. And that’s how you stop it.”

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