HONOLULU (KHON2) — Some Hawaii students will be going back to their classrooms on Monday, March 22, as spring break comes to an end. There are renewed efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
One way to stop the spread of the virus is free COVID-19 tests.
The Department of Health (DOH) is giving them on Friday, March 19, and Saturday, March 20, at the University of Hawaii (UH) West Oahu.
The DOH is asking students and teachers to take advantage of the rapid COVID-19 tests as they get ready to go back to the classrooms. Some of the families KHON2 spoke with also traveled during spring break and wanted to make sure they have not contracted the virus.
“Traveling itself is a risk if you’re in an airplane with crowded conditions or at the airport, exposure is more than what we usually experience in the community,” said DOH lab director Dr. Edward Desmond.
The Department of Education says schools will start bringing more students into classrooms throughout the semester. Schools will ideally try to keep children six feet apart while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allows the students to be three feet apart.
Schools should ensure open-air ventilation, utilize air filtering systems and keep students within established cohorts if six feet of space is not possible.
Colleges are also taking extra steps. There was an outbreak at UH’s dorms in January, 2021, and UH will continue with online classes. A spokesman says emails were sent out to students to make sure to follow safety guidelines especially if they travel.
Other colleges are going with a hybrid version of online and in-person classes. Some of those students also chose to get tested.
“I’d rather be safe than sorry, just to make sure that I don’t have the virus cause I’ve been hearing people around me where I work testing positive,” said student Raidyn Mendez.
The DOH says it plans to hold more free COVID-19 tests at underserved areas to make it more convenient for residents from different parts of the island.
“We want to make sure that we’re reaching all the communities in the island so this will be part of a continuing effort to try to do that,” said Dr. Desmond.