YWAM students returning home

  • The University of the Nations campus off Kuakini Highway. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

Discipleship Training School students at Youth With a Mission in Kona returning from three months abroad will be monitored at the University of the Nations.

Luke White, a full-time staff member at the school, said students who spent the past three months in the South Pacific, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Brazil began arriving Friday and will be screened at the school.

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Students were encouraged to fly directly home, but the school expects 200-300 to return to the Kona campus.

He said students returning will be taking their temperature twice a day and after screening return to their hometowns.

Students in the DTS program spend three months training at the school before being sent to various locations around the world for a three month mission.

Students returning this week were at the end of their mission, and the school is suspending its next training session.

Classes for students in the nine-month program at the school, which ends in June are continuing classes, however, White said they are continuing to reassess the situation based on recommendations from the state and Department of Health.

On Sunday, the school clarified that its medical staff has been monitoring the situation since the initial outbreak in January. No teams were in any active areas of outbreak, said Lori Roddam.

Students were also asked to self-monitor for two weeks before returning to Kona. There are no reported or suspected cases among returning staff or students.

“As soon as the travel restrictions were posted by President Trump on Wednesday we immediately removed students from their outreach locations and encouraged each one to go home directly,” she said.

The above referenced figure of 200 to 300 students was based on the initial number of students in the program; not those returning to Kona.

“For the few students and staff who returned to Kona, they were cleared through the U.S. Immigration’s CDC screening and also here in Kona upon immediate arrival by our medical professionals,” Roddam said. “Each returning staff and student is currently in self isolation. We are following all recommendations of our medical staff and governmental agencies.”

The platform of training for the current student body on the Kona campus has also been changed. As of Friday, all students and staff whose permanent residence is not Kona have been encouraged to return home.

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“We recognize this is a time for families to be together and we want to honor that. We anticipate that most will depart over the weekend and early next week,” Roddam said. “Their training will continue online.”

Further, Roddam said, the school has been following CDC and state safety guidelines, including limiting group gathering sizes and other proactive measures to ensure the safety of the community.

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