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Schatz Urges School Leaders to Ensure Proper Ventilation in Classrooms

With schools in Hawai‘i preparing for increased access to in-person instruction in the second quarter, US Senator Brian Schatz today urged school leaders to take additional steps to ensure adequate air flow and filtration in classrooms.

He wrote letters to the Hawai‘i Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, the State Board of Education, and the Hawai‘i Association of Independent Schools to take additional steps to ensure proper ventilation saying it’s critical in preventing the spread of the virus.

The state Department of Education released an updated guidance plan last week that sets new COVID-19 benchmarks to plan for a gradual transition to blended learning models starting in the second quarter, which runs from Oct. 12 to Dec. 18.

Sen. Schatz wrote:

“Multiple studies have pointed to the airborne spread of COVID-19, and in July, more than 200 scientists called for greater recognition of the role of airborne transmission and corresponding preventive measures. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a letter on a COVID-19 outbreak in a restaurant in China where air-conditioned ventilation contributed to the spread of COVID-19, including between individuals not sitting close to each other. The World Health Organization has also discussed aerosol transmission in choir practices and fitness classes. In addition, a recent study found that there is a high probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments.  Accordingly, proper ventilation is critical in preventing the spread of the virus.”

The DOH metrics outline five levels of community transmission of COVID-19 that would trigger corresponding learning model parameters for schools to consider and to assist with decision making. HIDOE will use the metrics to look at case activity within counties and by complex area.

Cumulative new case rate per 10,000 population over 14 days by island of residence

Consider Adopting for Elementary

Consider Adopting for Secondary

0 – 5.0

In-person learning

In-person learning

5.1 – 15.0

In-person learning

Blended learning

15.1 – 25.0

Blended learning

Blended learning

25.1 – 35.0

Blended learning

Learn from home

35.1 +

Learn from home

Learn from home

Source: Hawaii State Department of Health, Learning Model Parameters

Original source: https://mauinow.com/2020/09/23/schatz-urges-school-leaders-to-ensure-proper-ventilation-in-classrooms/

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