Bill would require reports of school virus numbers

HONOLULU — A state Senate bill would require the state Department of Education to publish the number of new coronavirus cases detected at each public school.

Current regulations require the education department to list weekly COVID-19 case totals by complex area, KITV-TV reported Wednesday.

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The state’s public schools are divided into 15 complex areas, each of which includes two to four school complexes consisting of a high school and elementary and intermediate schools feeding into the high school, the education department website said.

The bill also would require the department to post exact dates of positive COVID-19 tests and the most recent dates of attendance by those who were infected.

Democratic state Sen. Michelle Kidani, who introduced the bill, said reporting cases by complex areas can worry parents, who she said have a right to know whether individual schools have been impacted by the pandemic.

Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami testified against the bill, arguing the change could result in the alienation of students and parents who are suspected of being infected.

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The Senate Committee on Judiciary advanced the bill during an online hearing Wednesday. The measure will move to a final reading in the Senate before crossing to the House.

If passed into law, the updated reporting requirement would go into effect July 1.

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