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COVID case sends Lokelani back to distance learning

Intermediate school had been following hybrid education model

Lokelani Intermediate School has transitioned back to distance learning for about two weeks after the Kihei school reported a COVID-19 case, according to the state Department of Education.

Lokelani was one of the first on Maui to implement a hybrid model that allowed some students back on campus while others did distance learning. Following the COVID case, virtual learning was reinstated on Tuesday, with hybrid learning anticipated to return Nov. 30, the DOE said in an email Thursday afternoon.

The DOE did not release information on the infected person or the dates they were last on campus, citing federal and state privacy laws.

“Schools promptly notify affected individuals directly — staff, families and/or service providers — about positive (or in some cases potentially positive) cases as appropriate,” the department said.

Parent notification emails were sent on Monday and a town hall meeting was held online Wednesday. Campus cleaning and disinfection were also completed.

According to the DOE, Lokelani had initially implemented a hybrid model at the start of second quarter, on Oct. 12, prioritizing the most vulnerable learners for on-campus instruction, including students who are not meeting standards through full distance learning.

The school established cohorts with half the prioritized students coming to campus every day and attending only three periods a day instead of six.

Maui County’s schools have each implemented different methods of bringing back students to campus. Some still do not have their general population back.

Schools have prioritized returning to campus students who have shown difficulty adjusting to distance learning, including students with disabilities, English learners and students whose home environment is not conducive to learning, such as students with connectivity issues or lack of stable housing, the DOE has said.

The second phase of returning students to campus includes the youngest learners as well as students in “transition years,” as these are crucial academic milestones and social emotional development periods in a student’s educational experience, the department added.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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