Punahou has a long tradition of embracing travel and the educational benefits that it brings. When we venture beyond our home, we gain a new perspective and broaden our intellectual horizons. There are times, however, when events around the world, such as the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, require that we change our plans in the interest of safety.
Due to the growing risks surrounding the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation, Punahou has decided to suspend all school-sponsored travel to the continental United States and international destinations from now through the remainder of the current academic year, which ends on May 28. We are also evaluating summer school travel and will announce a decision about these trips at a future time.
We recognize and sincerely regret that this will be disappointing to many students who have spent these past months in preparation for travel. Please understand, however, that the decision to cancel these trips was not taken lightly. It instead reflects the continued guidance we have received from medical experts, information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and our deep commitment to act responsibly to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and community.
We understand that families have made investments in these trips as well. Punahou is working with the various third-party travel vendors to pursue refunds. We will follow up in the coming days with each travel group individually as we secure more complete financial information. To the extent possible, we will seek to recover the costs families have incurred.
If your child finds this news particularly disappointing and wishes to talk to someone, please know that their grade level dean(s) and School counselors are available and ready to help. They may also be feeling anxiety over the news of schools closing in certain parts of the country. As we indicated earlier, while Punahou is engaged in contingency planning around a possible closure, you and your child should know that there are currently no plans to close the School. We encourage all families to visit the Punahou Health website for the latest information about our School’s policies regarding this outbreak.
Thank you for your patience and understanding throughout this difficult process. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those around the world who have been affected by this virus. I am confident that our community will emerge stronger from this period and that Punahou students will soon be able to pursue the benefits of travel and exploration once more.
March 6, 2020
Punahou has been closely following the international coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With the well-being of our students foremost in our minds, and in close consultation with medical experts, Punahou has updated its School Policy accordingly:
SCHOOL RELATED TRAVEL
All School-related travel to and from countries the CDC has designated Level 2 (Japan) and Level 3 (China, South Korea, Italy and Iran) has been suspended until the CDC lowers its travel advisory to Level 1 or lower.
We are evaluating all other school-related travel, both domestic and international, that is planned from now until the end of the school year. Should these trips be cancelled, we will do our best to help families recoup some costs. We regret the inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding as we seek to protect the safety and health of our entire community. A final decision regarding trips planned for the Spring Break and the remainder of the school year, based on the most accurate and recent information, will be communicated to families by Wednesday, 3/11.
PERSONAL FAMILY TRAVEL
All personal family travel to or transiting through Level 2 and 3 countries should be avoided.
Child as Traveler
If your child travels to or transits through a Level 2 or 3 country, you must notify your child’s grade level dean and withhold your child from School and school-related events for 14 days. If flu-like symptoms occur during this time, your child must also secure medical clearance prior to returning to School.
Household Member as Traveler
If any member of your household travels to or transits through a Level 3 country and returns home, you must notify your child’s grade level dean and withhold your child from School for 14 days, regardless of whether your child traveled there or not.
If any member of your household travels to or transits through a Level 2 country and returns home, your child may attend School unless the traveling family member is experiencing flu-like symptoms. In this situation, you must notify your child’s grade level dean and withhold your child from School for 14 days.
Families may want to reconsider all non-essential travel, particularly to areas of heightened concern, such as the Seattle area of Washington state.
If any member of your household tests positive for COVID-19, you must immediately notify the School. Your child will be required to observe a 14-day self-quarantine from School and school-related events and secure medical clearance prior to returning to School.
OTHER WAYS WE ARE KEEPING OUR COMMUNITY SAFE
Distance Learning Our administration and faculty are working closely with IT to plan for the possibility that the School would need to be closed. While we don’t foresee this as a likely scenario, we believe it is prudent and responsible to plan for such an event, and we are confident that we would be able to support the educational needs of our students remotely
Sanitation and Hygiene Our dedicated facilities team continues to thoroughly clean classrooms, bathrooms and shared spaces with a focus on doorknobs, light switches, faucets, bathroom spaces, work surfaces, student and teacher desks, classroom tables, keyboards, phones and fitness equipment.
Signage We will be expanding our signage around campus with information about proper hygiene and how to avoid germ transmission.
As a reminder, please continue to practice preventive measures, like staying home when sick; covering your mouth with your sleeve when coughing; avoiding touching your face, and particularly your eyes and mouth; and washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we work to ensure the health and well-being of our community. We will continue to provide updates as necessary via email and on this website.