Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Aloha HPA families and students,
Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy is following up on our correspondence last Friday regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and is sharing travel advisory information and updated policies related to Spring Break travel. We have been in communication with local and state agencies and are monitoring several federal health agencies to ensure that we have the most up-to-date information and guidance available. The safety of our school community is our top priority, and this communication applies to all K-12 day and boarding students and families. Similar protocols will be in place for all HPA employees and visitors.
HPA strongly recommends avoiding all non-essential travel to geographic areas with widespread or sustained community transmission of COVID-19, as outlined by the CDC. Any travel at this time carries risk since the location of outbreaks around the world remains fluid. Students may not be allowed to leave the country or region of a new outbreak, or they may not be allowed to travel back into the United States once they are in a region that has experienced an outbreak. Families need to stay informed and make travel decisions and arrangements that minimize their risk. As a reminder, our residence halls will remain open during Spring Break to accommodate any boarding students who choose not to travel.
Updated HPA Protocol
If a student or family chooses to travel away from Hawai‘i Island and meets the following criteria, then after completing their travel they must self-quarantine for 14 days:
- The student or family traveled internationally to a region, country, or geographic area that has been identified, or becomes identified, with widespread or sustained community transmission, as outlined by the CDC (level 2 or 3)
- The student or family traveled domestically to a city, region, or state within the United States that has been identified, or becomes identified, with widespread or sustained community transmission
The self-quarantine period must be completed in a country that is not listed by the CDC as a level 2 or 3, or in an area in the United States that does not have widespread or sustained community transmission of COVID-19. After the 14-day self-quarantine, HPA will require a doctor’s note certifying that the student has been symptom-free and is eligible to return to school. For boarding parents who choose to have their child travel during Spring Break, please understand that HPA does not have the facilities to self-quarantine on campus, and your child will need to self-quarantine elsewhere under parent or guardian supervision. Any additional expenses that may arise from this will be the family’s responsibility. During a self-quarantine, HPA faculty will support students to maintain their studies and coursework as much as possible.
In the coming hours, we will send a short survey to all parents and students asking for your Spring Break travel plans. Due to the urgency of this matter, these forms will be due on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at 10:00 p.m. (HST). Please note that incomplete or missing forms may jeopardize a student’s ability to return to campus for a period of time after Spring Break.
For the health of our community, please remember that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. Medical experts indicate that the most effective methods to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are the same recommendations for preventing the spread of the flu:
- Stay home when you are sick
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol‐based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
- Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
- Face masks should be used for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings.
We encourage you to talk to your child and help them better understand COVID-19, since Child Mind Institute points out that “Kids worry more when they're kept in the dark.” While COVID-19 is a global health concern, we must remember that over 80% of confirmed cases experience mild to moderate symptoms (coughing and flu-like symptoms), and it is severe in only a smaller number of individuals.
By exercising caution we can partner together to ensure the health and safety of our community. In the interest of shared responsibility, we have created a COVID-19 Information page, which can be found on the Resource tab of myHPA. HPA will continue to monitor this evolving situation and will make changes to our protocols as necessary. Should you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to your individual school offices.
Best wishes for good health,
The Office of the Head of School
Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy