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The Kūpa`a Collective is excited to bring new, updated content to you for the school year 2021-2022.  We know that educators are always have so much already on their plates that we aim to curate resources to help keep you current with the fast moving shifts and changes that are taking place concering the pandemic.  Mahalo for you patience as we continue to build this page for you.

Addressing Safer School Reopenings

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As we are about to start a new school year, whether you are a parent, a student, a formal or informal educator, an administrator, or community member, we can use what we know thus far about the pandemic to inform us as the upcoming school year lays on the horizon.  At the same time, we also need to be aware that there have been some shifts and changes to the coronavirus, that is presently causing a global rise in cases.  

Here in Hawai`i, if we are 12 and older we have access to vaccines that other countries have limited access to.  

As educators, we do need to consider the populations that we work with and how do we keep everyone safe, not just the vaccinated population.  Addressing this issue is of importance because it is a social justice and educational justice issue.  For whatever reason why one chooses to get vaccinated or not, we still need to ensure that we understand the impacts on those who are not vaccinated so that we can protect these students and staff, and their families.  This page on the Kupa`a Collective will be dedicated to looking at this issue for we believe that being informed is important to being prepared and being proactive in keeping our families and communities safe and protected.  

Weigh What's Safer and Riskier in Schools

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The Kūpa`a Collective utilizes the `ike kūpuna practice of building awareness, consciousness, and attunement to what is happening through deep observations, through deep analysis of patterns established over time, of using the past as a guide.  Rather than just diving in without knowing the challenges that will be faced, this Safer Reopenings page focuses on having a heightened awareness of all the facts, not depending on the government to make decisions that are not prioritizing our communities health and instead rely on our own critical analysis of our communities situations in order to make decisions that are in the best interest of our families and our communities.  

Best `Ike Kūpuna Practices:
Being Informed to Be Prepared

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Self that takes into account ones past, one's kūpuna; one's present, one's connection to makua and all the generations before; one's future, piko ___ and the considering the future generations to come.

When grounding one's self in this way, there is kuleana that is carried that extends to one's `ohana, to one's kaiaulu, one's community, and further out, globally, into the world in which one lives.  

A Mauli Ola Approach

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Is There Still a Need to Apply a Multi-Layered  Protective Approach?

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Without a doubt, yes, yes, and yes!  E kūpa`a kākou!  Let's stand together to Kū Ho`omalu--in the protection of our beloved `ohana, families and kaiāulu, communities.  In fact, in the face of the Delta variant which transmit to the next person at a much faster rate (increased contagiousness) we actually need to use a "Multi-Layered Approach 2.0"--that takes on increased levels of vigilance.

In any situation that we find ourselves in, there are multiple variables that will be at play.  Oftentimes, we are unable to control some of those variables.  These can create holes in our protection.  This is why taking a multi-layered approach is important to "fill-in" these holes, and lower the risks that we are taking.

COMMENTARY
Just as Not All Masks Are Created Equal, We Must Use Our Critical Thinking to Analyze that Not All COVID-19 School Safety Plans Across Hawai`i Are Created Equal. 
When Too Many Layers are Optional in the DOH's Plan, When Parents are Entrusting Their Children's Lives in Good Faith, is Each and Every School Upholding The Safest Layered Approach with Integrity?  Where is the Bar?  Who is Managing and Maintaining Quality Control?  Where Does the Accountability Lie?

Are We Being Mislead by the "Updated" DOH Safety Guidance Plan for School Reopenings
Is it ethical for entities like the Hawai`i Department of Education and the Hawai`i Department of Health to not provide transparent information about the higher level of risks that students are being placed in with the "watered-down," thinned-out approach in the Hawai`i State Department of Health Guidance for Schools COVID-19 "updated" plan?
Who is doing quality control of each DOE public school's COVID-19 Safety Plan, ensuring that gaping holes are not present that compromises student safety and increases risks?
First let's examine the word "essential."
The DOH only lists 4 strategies as "essential", as strategies that should be prioritized.














When we think of something that we are going to "prioritize," in the usual use of that word we consider a priority something that is held up as more important than that which isn't being prioritized. 



Is it okay that critical strategies for student safety are not prioritized as the DOH's "core essential strategies" yet should be a necessary part of a school's safety plan. 

Presently, all of the DOH's "core essential strategies" strategies that have been flagged and labeled "To be implemented in every situation," are for the most part strategies that the schools had no part in being responsible for planning, or designing, or preparing for.  Instead, they are all strategies that either parents are accountable for completing--vaccination for students who are eligible, keeping sick children home, or students are accountable for--consistent and correct mask wearing, and hand hygiene.  (Schools are only responsible for sending sick children home.)  Thus the problem with only listing these 4 strategies as their "core essential strategies" is that none of these take into account one of the main ways that the COVID-19 transmits to others, asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic cases. 
This leaves us wondering why?

In Gruenwald's "Foundations of Place: A Multidisciplinary Framework for Place-Conscious Education" he implores us to build awareness and consciousness around the intentions of decisions that are made across all sectors of government.  Thus we ask you the reader, just as we would ask our students, to put the pieces together and consider why the DOE and DOH are basically putting the responsibility for safety on parents and students shoulders?

After over a year and a half in a pandemic, why wouldn't the DOE and DOH be willing to shoulder a huge portion of the responsibility?  With many assurances of safety being touted by the DOE and DOH, why are these necessary layers only optional at schools--testing, contact tracing, physical distancing, and cohorting?  These should be non-negotaiable pillars in creating the safest environment possible for our students.  

It is true that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports the reopening of schools, but not just under any conditions.  However the AAP is not advocating for a piece meal approach.  The AAP reminds us, “it is vitally important that communities take all necessary measures to limit the community spread of SARS-CoV-2 to ensure schools can remain open and safe for all students."

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Thus, is the DOH making up its own understanding of the use of that terminology, as well as with their use of the word "essential?"  And how is the DOE complicit, when they stand by it?  When speaking about what is essential in regards to applying that words definition, then adequate physical distancing that mitigates transmission is necessary. Because of the high viral load of the Delta variant, and the 250 percent increase in transmissibility, it would follow that we would need to have increased distances in physical distancing--not a reduced number.  However, and I am not sure if our medical community, our parents, and families, our communities are aware of this, but anything that is not listed as the top 4 "core essential strategies" is now rendered optional.  When a vast majority of our students are unvaccinated, when most students do not have access to masking that experts are now recommending in indoor and gathering spaces, KN95 or KF94, then even more so it would follow that adequate physical distancing, ventilation, testing, contact tracing, and cohorting are as the AAP puts it "all necessary measures to limit the community spread of SARS-Cov-2."  This is a critical piece that is flying under the radar because of the DOH, DOE, and Governor's assurances that students and families are safe. 

Another Reason Why KN95, and KF94 masks together with physical distancing and ventilation are necessary and integral to limiting transmission is because of the ever increasing number of data reports that show just how easily the Delta variant transmits to others--within seconds (so the 15 minute original close contact standard is no longer safe), and even takes place in outdoor, open air spaces.  

Data from Australia revealed that simply passing a Delta Covid-19 carrier of the virus, can transmit the virus to another.  

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What is the difference between the word all and some?  Knowing about  the Delta Variant helps us to decide if we need to use all the measures together, or just some of them.  What do you think and why?  Does the DOH plan match all the data and real time sharing by doctors?

Many Hawai`i doctors, professors, researchers, and educators are donating a lot of their own time to building awareness of the need to shift our gears with the Delta variant.  They want us to know that increased transmissiblity means increased protections are needed.  

Did the DOE and DOH give educators, and families the prevention and protection plan that they all deserve--one that ensures student protection?

The "Updated" DOH Safety Plan, Creates False Security & Attempts to Not Hold DOE or DOH Accountable for Keeping Students, Families, Educators, and Administrators Safe 

If professionals in the health field really knew that critical strategies noted above are now optional in the "updated" DOH Reopening Guidance, would they be able to support it?  Is this ethical? Is this supporting the moral obligation and imperatives that we believe the DOH and DOE should uphold?

 

 

Should we be wary that the DOE, DOH, and Governor use of the word "safe" in their Back-to-School Conference?  

According to "Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, who compared vaccinated people wearing a mask to safety precautions for drivers, like wearing a seatbelt or stopping at stop signs.   

“There's no such thing as safe,” Poland said. “There's only safer, and that only happens by layering one mitigation measure on top of another.” 

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Think About It:  If the DOE and DOH are not taking an "err on the side of caution" approach to school reopenings can we label the school reopenings "safe" or even use the word "safer?"

If they have no back-up plan in the middle of a global pandemic for rising surges, or increased measures of safety (rather than how they relaxed the measures) necessary with more contagious variants, and until we get this pandemic under control globally then there should be the foresight that additional waves, and variants are on the horizon, and seeing that educators are always being asked to think ahead, to have foresight, to forecast for what might happen, then shouldn't we ask the same of those higher up who are insisting on making these across the board decisions?

What is a multi-layered approach to protection and prevention?

The video below was produced by the Pacific Alliance Against COVID-19.  This Hawai`i-based project grew out of this Kūpa`a Collective grassroots project.  Watch the video below to learn more about the multi-layered approach to protection and prevention.  Kumu Kawaikpuokalani inspired the title of this module Kū Ho`omalu.  Join Kumu Kawaikapuokalani Hewett as he introduces us to the importance of protection and prevention in the face of this pandemic.

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If Experts Are Taking the Delta Variant Seriously, Should We Be Too?

5 Things To Know About the Delta Variant: 

As the new strain spreads, experts are taking it seriously.

From Yale Medicine

BY KATHY KATELLA JULY 27, 2021

[Originally published: June 28, 2021. Updated: July 27, 2021.]

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Image by Mikael Häggström, M.D.

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Excerpt:

1. Delta is more contagious than the other virus strains.
“It’s actually quite dramatic how the growth rate will change,” says Dr. Wilson, commenting on Delta's spread in the U.S. in June. Delta was spreading 50% faster than Alpha, which was 50% more contagious than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, he says.
2. Unvaccinated people are at risk.
People who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are most at risk. 

Kids and young people are a concern as well. “A recent study from the United Kingdom showed that children and adults under 50 were 2.5 times more likely to become infected with Delta,” says Dr. Yildirim. And so far, no vaccine has been approved for children 5 to 12 in the U.S., although the U.S. and a number of other countries have either authorized vaccines for adolescents and young children or are considering them.

“As older age groups get vaccinated, those who are younger and unvaccinated will be at higher risk of getting COVID-19 with any variant,” says Dr. Yildirim.  “But Delta seems to be impacting younger age groups more than previous variants.”

3. Delta could lead to 'hyperlocal outbreaks.'

The answers could depend, in part, on where you live—and how many people in your location are vaccinated, he says. “I call it ‘patchwork vaccination,’ where you have these pockets that are highly vaccinated that are adjacent to places that have 20% vaccination,” Dr. Wilson says. “The problem is that this allows the virus to hop, skip, and jump from one poorly vaccinated area to another.”

4. There is still more to learn about Delta.

Early information about the severity of Delta included a study from Scotland that showed the Delta variant was about twice as likely as Alpha to result in hospitalization in unvaccinated individuals, but other data has shown no significant difference. The information could change as experts learn more.

Another question focuses on how Delta affects the body. There have been reports of symptoms that are different than those associated with the original coronavirus strain, Dr. Yildirim says. “It seems like cough and loss of smell are less common. And headache, sore throat, runny nose, and fever are present based on the most recent surveys in the U.K., where more than 90% of the cases are due to the Delta strain,” she says.

5. Vaccination is the best protection against Delta.

“Like everything in life, this is an ongoing risk assessment,” says Dr. Yildirim. “If it is sunny and you’ll be outdoors, you put on sunscreen. If you are in a crowded gathering, potentially with unvaccinated people, you put your mask on and keep social distancing. If you are unvaccinated and eligible for the vaccine, the best thing you can do is to get vaccinated.”

Face masks can provide additional protection and the WHO has encouraged mask-wearing even among vaccinated people, but in the U.S. the CDC has left that decision to local jurisdictions.

A CDC Document Gives New Details On Just How Dangerous The Delta Variant Really Is

July 29, 202111:13 PM ET

Heard on Morning Edition

CDC on How Dangerous Delta Variant IsNPR 3 minute listen
00:00 / 03:39

View (below) the internal CDC presentation document mentioned in the NPR audio above.

How to Avoid Family/Community Spread, Hospitalization, Intensive Care, Loss of Life Associated with the Increased Transmissibility of the Delta Variant

On August 2, 2021, Dr.  shares why it’s the “Darkest Days of the Pandemic.”

Living the reality of watching the ICU spaces fill up, while other COVID-19 patients wait in ERs for ICU beds to become available, she is hopeful, that others can learn from what is happening in Louisiana, by seeing what is happening at her hospital.  Then rather than find themselves in the same position, she hopes that other communities will take a proactive approach to getting vaccinated early.  And while waiting to be fully vaccinated, she shares the importance of masking up.  

Don't wait to get vaccinated. or wish you got vaccinated. The states that are seeing surges that once had the lowest vaccination rates, are now leading the US in vaccinations--out of the fear they are facing.  Don't wait for fear to be the driver of getting vaccinated.  We encourage you to get vaccinated now.  Below, data will be shared that shows the effectiveness of vaccination in preventing hospitalizations and death from the Delta Variant.  

Material presented by Dr. Catherine O-Neal MD. Catherine O'Neal is an Assistant Professor at LSU in the area of Clinical Medicine specializing in Infectious Diseases. Catherine is also the chief medical director at Our Lady of the Lake Health System.

Communities With Higher Numbers of COVID-19, See Higher Numbers of Children With the Delta Variant Hospitalized, in ICUs, on Ventilators. 

Hawai`i, let's stand togegther to protect each other--vaccinated, unvaccinated.  Let's proactively prevent this outcome.  If you are able to, get vaccinated.  If you can't get vaccinated, or choose not to, wear masks.  Experts now recommend, if you have access to KN95 or KN94 (made in Korea) use these to prevent spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant.  (Everyone is different.  Check with your doctor to ensure that these are safe for you.) 

Some hospitals seeing record numbers of children with COVID-19

By Ryan Chatelain Nationwide

PUBLISHED 3:38 PM ET Jul. 30, 2021

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What Exactly Is Vaccine Efficacy?  Let's Compare Vaccines

If we are vaccinated, then why are breakthrough cases increasing?

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Author:  Rabaan, A.A., Al-Ahmed, S.H., Sah, R. et al.

Polio, Measles, and mRNA Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna

No vaccine is 100% effective. Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine was 80%-90% effective in preventing paralytic disease. Even for the gold standard measles vaccine, the efficacy was 94% among a highly vaccinated population during large outbreaks.

Comparably, clinical trials found the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were 94%–95% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 – much more protective than initially hoped.  

(Added note:  Many people choose the mRNA vaccines because they want the most effective preventative vaccine.  But based on what is accessible, some vaccine is better than no vaccine at all.  This is where ethics come in when we talk about boosters for everyone before many countries across the globe even get one.  Read more about this social justice issue below.)

Let's Do the Math

A quick reminder: A vaccine efficacy of 95% does not mean that the shot protects 95% of people while the other 5% will contract the virus. Vaccine efficacy is a measure of relative risk – you need to compare a group of vaccinated people to a group of unvaccinated people under the same exposure conditions. So consider a three-month study period during which 100 out of 10,000 unvaccinated people got COVID-19. You’d expect five vaccinated people to get sick during that same time. That’s 5% of the 100 unvaccinated people who fell ill, not 5% of the whole group of 10,000.

When people get infected after vaccination, scientists call these cases “breakthrough” infections because the virus broke through the protective barrier the vaccine provides.

Add info about how efficacy decreases over time.  (similar to flu shot)

How variants impact vaccine efficacy?

Does Being Informed Help With Decision Making? 

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Ignorance can feel like bliss.  Being kept in the dark about what might happen, when you just want to forget about it all, maybe because you're "done with COVID."  Or maybe, you find it too depressing, or traumatic.  If you fall into the first category, we encourage you to read on because transparency, and having all the pieces of the puzzle, helps to put the contextual picture of the moment together.  The Delta Variant is so different from the original variant of COVID, that it is important to understand what's difference because knowledge is power.  If we have the information we need to analyze the situation at hand, we can respond proactively before worst-case scenarios come to fruition.  If knowing the truth is depressing or traumatizing for you, please seek the help and support you need.  It is equally important to also recognize our mental health needs.  Reach out to your health care provider, or community health center nearest you.  

     Listen to the WBUR On Point podcast Breakthrough COVID Cases And What They Mean For The Ongoing Pandemic to learn about how Travis wishes that he had received all the information concerning vaccinations and breakthrough cases. Then he would have protected himself better even after being fully-vaccinated.  He like many others thought he was good to go because of the messaging he was hearing.   
     On Point's Becca, "The point actually is that the pandemic, and pandemic control are dynamic processes.  Breakthrough cases are adding another dimension to that dynamic.  So we are going to try to understand what exactly that dimension is.  What those breakthrough cases are?  Why they happen?  And most importantly how these so called breakthroughs might inform larger public health efforts to get the pandemic fully under control."  Listen to the podcast below and experience the power of personal story in providing an additional layer of information.

Breakthrough COVID Cases And What They Mean For The Ongoing PandemicWBUR: On Point
00:00 / 50:15

Summary of Main Points

1:40 Start hear section that will bring forth the facts on breakthrough cases.

3:20 Hear Travis' testimony on what it feels like to be one of those breakthrough cases.              After being vaccinated he relaxed and loosened his safety protocols because of the extra layer of defense.

5:00 CDC mask guidance--vaccinated no longer needs to wear masks--didn't feel like he was taking risks.  Felt reassured by the vaccines and CDC.

6:00 Started taking on normal activities

6:35  Retrospectively realizes he should recalibrate and make his own decisions

7:31 Became a breakthrough cases

7:50 Emphasizes that he had an incredible defense in being vaccinated--can only imagine how bad it would have been.

8:30  Nuanced approach needed, nuanced messaging ot shape personal decisions (Rather than messaging that "Vaccine equals safe. Vaccine equals back to normal."

8:40  Turning a dial approach instead.  Need to calibrate and adjust as virus is adjusting, virus is mutating, the virus is changing.

9:35 Shares how sick he got

10:12  Why being informed, more vividly would have allowed him to make better risk calculations

10:40 Poses question:  How do we distill in a science driven way, in a medicine driven way, which spaces are really dangerous for us.

Vaccines are Effective in Limiting the Severity of Breakthrough Cases













CNN's Harry Enten looks at the data around the Covid-19 vaccine that shows that you have a 25 times greater chance of dying from Covid-19 if you are unvaccinated and that those who are vaccinated have more than a 99% chance of surviving a infection.

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Data Showing Effectiveness of Vaccinations
in Protecting Against COVID-19 Loss of Life

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Image from the Common Wealth Fund.  Alison Galvani, et. al. 

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‘This is not a joke’: Puna man recounts long battle against COVID-19

By KELSEY WALLING Hawaii Tribune-Herald | Thursday, July 29, 2021, 12:05 a.m.

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This Hawai`i Island story, depicts how quickly the Delta Variant can spread through a family--father, mother and 4 out of 5 of his children.

"Tibayan, 45, considered getting one of the vaccines, but was hesitant after hearing about side effects from the shots. By the time he was ready to make a decision, he became ill."

“I’m reading about the Delta strain, and if people know me, they know I don’t blow smoke. This ain’t no joke,” Tibayan said. “After 49 days in the hospital, I still have a long time to recover. I hope I get to 100% again, but I have a feeling my lungs took a hard toll.”

     According to Hawai`i News Now story by Ben Gutierrez:  

“This thing took me to death’s door,” Tibayan said. “I was looking in the window, ready for walk in. That’s how bad it was. This was no joke.”

Medical experts said the highly contagious Delta variant is spreading quickly among the unvaccinated.  “You can be exposed for 30 seconds to someone’s respiratory droplets and become infected. It’s no longer 15 minutes and six feet,” said Dr. Scott Miscovich of Premier Medical Group. “We’re seeing with a family, you just get in a household, you can get infected.”

     Tibayan is now urging others to get the vaccine, including a cousin who had been reluctant to get one until she heard his story.  “Just the other day she texted me and said, ‘Hey, I just went go get one vaccine, I took the kids,’ and I said, ‘Hey, right on.’”

Tibayan is going home with an oxygen tank — and a message.  “Do something,” he said. “No just think like how I used to think, like, ah, this is fake, this is propaganda, this is stuff. I tell you this ain’t no joke.”

A Desperate Healthcare Workers Plea

By Allyson Blair

Published: Aug. 4, 2021

Hilton Raethel, the head of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, said every major hospital in the state has put in a request for reinforcements.

“We are looking at potentially bringing in two to three times the number of personnel that we had on the ground last year,” he said.

He says the record request equates to more than 500 healthcare workers, far surpassing what hospitals needed during the lockdown.

That first wave of reinforcements would work for eight weeks, spread out at facilities across the state.

“I was blown away when the numbers came in,” Raethel said. “The hospitals would not be asking for this unless they really needed it.”

Woo Ae Fabro is a nurse in the intensive care unit at Kaiser Permanente.

“We are so short-handed in this COVID season,” she said.

Fabro says that she and her colleagues are constantly asked to work overtime. She added that many shifts so busy there’s not even time to eat.

“It’s a battle zone,” she said. “You get in there and you need to help these people. You can’t leave them alone. They’re that sick.”

Sumner said he’s grateful to those who’ve gotten vaccinated.

“Thank you,” he said. “We healthcare workers really do appreciate it. It definitely takes a weight off of our shoulders.”

If you haven’t gotten the shots he asks that you to reconsider as hospital staff are stretched thinner every day. “Do it for someone you care about,” he said.

Fabro added, “We need everyone to become the hero in the community. Roll up your sleeve.”

View Senate COVID-19 Briefing
with Healthcare Association of Hawaii & DOE's Interim Superintendent Hayashi and Deputy Superintendent Phyllis Unebasami

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Let's Take a United, Collectivist.
Aloha Driven Approach

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Although we are all eager for the pandemic to be "over" we need to be aware of the need to continue our protective practices within the classroom setting.  Parents, and staff need to understand that there is a difference between what the State of Hawai`i is considering safe to return to "normal."  Analysis of the reasons why the dropping of guidelines might work from their perspective but might not be in accordance with prevention and protection of all individuals.  Yes, vaccinated individuals will have lower levels of risk, but we need to consider unvaccinated individuals, and their increased risk.  This is where the dropping of protective guidelines becomes a social justice issue when we examine the zipcodes--the areas of our pae`aina that will be the most negatively impacted, and the ethnic demographics that will also see increased level of risk.  The Government of Hawai`i, isn't always looking at it through this lens.

In order to understand the importance of continuing our multi-layered approach, the Kūpa`a Collective will share resources that reveal why this will still be important for the 2021-2022 school year.

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Beyond a One-Size-Fits-All Approach? 

​Not all of our communities have the same vaccination rates.

Why is this concerning?  How can we close these gaps?

Let's use these visuals to take a quick look at vaccination rates across O`ahu.  Let's also look at the COVID-19 health data.

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As depicted in these visuals, these communities are at greater risk of susceptibility to the Delta Variant because of their lower vaccination rates.  This is why, a one-size-fits-all approach for safety and protection guidance won't work.  Each school, each community, each individual, and family will need to analyze for themselves the risks and take necessary precautions to protect their families.  

98 % of Hospitalizations in Hawai`i are from the unvaccinated population

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Analyzing the Data: Why It's Critical to "Paint the Picture" with the Data that Can Help With Decision Making

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Learn More About Testing, Vaccines, & Variants

UH Manoa's JABSOM epigeneticist, Dr. Alika Maunakea, and UH College of Education's Dr. Pauline Chinn Leaders in the Pacific Alliance Against COVID-19 have created this video to share about Testing, Vaccines, and Variants.  

We Must Protect Kūpuna, `Ohana, Kaiāulu

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DOH's Sarah Kemble Share Her Thoughts on What Classrooms Should Look Like in SY 2021-2022

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From HPR's the Conversation with host Catherine Cruz 7-7-21

Dr. Sarah Kemble's protective practices for school's for the school year 2021-2022:

1) Continue masking

2) Cohort students--keep students in self-contained pods/ohana bubbles/cohorts that limits the mixing of students (this is important in limiting community spread)

3) Continue hand hygiene practices

4) Social distancing

Best Practices for SY 2021-2022Dr. Sarah Kemble
00:00 / 10:39

HPR's Ku`uwehi Shiraishi shares about the value she sees in the Pacific Alliance Against COVID-19 Community Health Project & Its Intersection with Educational Modules

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HPR Ku`uwehi Shiraishi reported: 

"The pilot project didn’t only involve testing, it also offered a culturally appropriate curriculum. Principal Kepka says the educational piece was critical to engaging students at his Hawaiian-focused public charter school.

'I think the modules were designed to really connect with our kids,' Kepka said. 'Our teachers found them valuable because we know that our children could relate and their families could relate, especially, I think, in the area like keeping our ohana and our in our bubble safe.'"

Listen to Ku`uwehi Shiraishi's full report:

HPR Features PAAC ProjectKu`uwehi Hiraishi
00:00 / 05:47

The Heightened Infection Rate of the Delta Variant in NOT Hyperbole

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Listen to Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham share about just how infectious the new Delta Variant is and why continued protections are of utmost importance for unvaccinated individuals.

WBUR's Here & NowDr. Jeanne Marrazzo
00:00 / 05:22

Published Tue, May 18 202111:18 AM EDTUpdated Wed, May 19 20214:03 PM EDT

By Cory Stieg

Delta is the dominant Covid strain in the U.S. — 4 things you need to know

Published Fri, Jul 9 20219:01 AM EDTUpdated Fri, Jul 9 20213:24 PM EDT

By Cory Steig

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  1. Vaccinated people can get breakthrough infections

  2. Delta is already causing Covid spikes in parts of the U.S. and could cause ‘major outbreaks’ this fall

  3. Delta could bring back masks and social distancing

  4. Delta could affect kids’ return to school.

How could the Delta variant affect kids' return to school?

The delta variant “poses a particular threat to our young people,” Zients said in the press briefing.

Covid vaccines are not yet authorized for children under 12 years old, which puts many school-aged children at higher risk of infection. In the United Kingdom, 90% of Covid cases in June were attributed to the delta variant, with the highest prevalence among children ages 5 to 12.  

“Pediatricians worry that if [the delta variant] spreads further, it could lead to schools not reopening, sports and camps being closed, and all of that having an adverse effect on the mental health of children,” says Dr. Steven Abelowitz, a board-certified pediatrician and medical director and president of Coastal Kids pediatric medical group, told Parents.

Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told Yahoo! Finance that he thinks safety measures such as masking and social distancing might be necessary in schools come fall and winter. (The CDC recommends that unvaccinated children ages two and up wear masks in public settings.)

To read the full article, click the link below.

BREAKTHROUGH CASES
Cautionary Tale:  9 vaccinated Yankees players and staff tested positive for Covid — here’s how that happens

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Image:  Daniel Hartwig

This article reminds us all that even if we are vaccinated, we still need to take precautions, and measure the risks that we are taking.  We all want to return to the way things were pre-pandemic, but even with vaccinations, there are many variables to consider.  Click the link below to read the entire article.

Safer School Reopenings Model: Kamaile Academy

Kamaile Academy in Wai`anae offers us insight on how effective a public school, community health partnership around testing and keeping families and communities safe can be.  The Pacific Alliance Against COVID-19 is in the process of expanding this pilot to areas that are a part of the AHARO community health network.  

More On Why We Need To Protect Each Other

Let's learn from what is unfolding in communities that are seeing Delta Variant transmission so we can be proactive in how we mitigate. Schools on the continent that have started are showing just how important testing, contact tracing and quarantine will be with the highly transmissible Delta variant in our communities.

Atlanta Students in Quarantine After Two Staffers and a Student Test

For Above Story:  Testing Was Critical To Being Able to Quickly Find These Cases and Mitigate Community Transmission

Continue reading to learn this school's protection plan:

Posted in youtube videos description section:  More than 100 students at Atlanta’s Drew Charter School have been asked to quarantine after two staff members and a student tested positive for Covid-19. The school informed parents in a letter Thursday that it learned about the positive tests the night before and that it was “working closely with local public health officials to ensure we follow the proper recommendations to quarantine.”The positive tests, just two days after the start of the school year, were first reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution. CDC recommends encouraging everyone to wear a mask in school, regardless of vaccination statusThe first day of school was Tuesday, according to the school website, and “students identified as having close contact with those who tested positive began to quarantine” days later, the AJC reported. Peter McKnight, the head of school, told the newspaper that most of the students impacted were in grades 2, 6 and 7. None of the cases appeared to be linked to the campus, according to McKnight, who told AJC the school was still investigating. School employees were required to be tested prior to the start of the school year, with weekly testing once classes started, according to the school website. At least six dates were provided for student testing on campus in the days before school began. Three students and two staff members tested positive for Covid-19 during the testing prior to the return to campus, according to AJC, which reported that more than 1,900 students and staff were tested. The school “strongly encourages” parents to have their students tested weekly, according to the letter. The four staff members who tested positive were unvaccinated, McKnight told the newspaper.'I don't feel any fear going out.' How residents are living in America's most vaccinated stateSchool staff at Drew are not required to be vaccinated but about three quarters have received the shots and about a third of the vaccine-eligible students are vaccinated, according to AJC. The school is urging eligible students to get vaccinated.“I am hopeful that we will be able to partner with our families to increase vaccination rates,” McKnight told Decaturish.com. He called on officials to “promote vaccination and limit community spread of the virus.”McKnight told AJC, “Vaccinations are hands down our best strategy to protect … health and safety.”The school will continue safety protocols already in place, including a mask mandate, and has “strongly encouraged weekly testing of students and mandatory testing of staff,” McKnight told Decaturish.com.“We also plan to focus on vaccination, mask wearing and social distancing as the most important mitigation strategies,” he said. The number of days required for quarantine will vary based on vaccination status, according to McKnight, who told the newspaper that unvaccinated students will quarantine for 14 days while vaccinated students will be allowed to return after five days with a negative test.

Why So Many Covid-19 Variants are Showing Up Now

VOX video explanation: Like any virus, SARS-CoV-2 has been mutating constantly since the beginning of the pandemic. Until November of 2020, though, that didn’t seem to matter. That’s when scientists in the United Kingdom noticed an alarming change: The virus had mutated in a way that made it more transmissible. Within a month, similar reports were emerging from places around the world. Suddenly, it seemed the virus was changing at an alarming rate. SARS-CoV-2 hasn’t actually been mutating faster, though. Instead, by letting it spread around the world, we’ve just given it more and more opportunities to mutate as it replicates. The result is that, after countless random mutations, there are signs that the virus is beginning to adapt to our natural defenses. And because it’s completely normal for a virus to change over time, we shouldn’t expect it to stop. The only real way to stop those changes is to stop giving the virus so many opportunities.

When Vaccines are Literally a Matter of Life & Death

The layers, nuances of hesitating to get vaccinated are many, and need to be met with compassion and understanding.  

One doctor analyzes the issue from her perspective.

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Why More Than Ever, Encouraging Vaccination is Important to Proactively Prevent Negative Impacts from the Delta Variant.  Why:  Because the Delta Variant is Impacting the Unvaccinated, Breaking the Barriers that Is Preventing People of Color from Getting the Vaccine Needs to Be Found

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Why We Can't Wait to Get Vaccinated Out of Feat of Hospitalizations and Loss of Life

 (This is the trend on the continental U.S.  Where the states with some of the lowest vaccination rates, saw the most surges, which now triggered them to be the states with the highest vaccination rates.We need to proactively protect the lives of children and kupuna.  Children because less than 50 percent of our 12-17 year olds are vaccinated.  And none of our below 11 are vaccinated.  Although Hawai`i's government officials repeatedly say that children are minimally impacted, if you seek the truth about what is happening with children and the Delta variant please read the section below.

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Want Transparency on How The Delta Variant is impacting Children?  

The most recent report was published with info updated 7/22/21 - which is pre-surge. The report showed 5107 cumulative pediatric COVID cases in Hawaii, 48 child hospitalizations, and one child death. Our pre-surge July rates were relatively low, however, as of this posting, Hawaii already had one of the highest percentage increases in pediatric COVID cases in the country.

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The Importance of Forecasting in Our Lives

Doctors Send Out Messages of Caution So That Others Can Be Prepared, Or Even Avoid What The Overwhelming Surge

Delta surge hitting younger people in Louisiana

Government Officials Should Not Only Do Their Due Diligence to Research Impacts on Children, Not Based on the Original Variant, But Based on the Recent Data That Shows a Marked Rise In Juvenile Cases of COVID-19 Hospitalizations, ICU cases, and Need for Respirations

New Orleans EMS can't keep up with calls due to the Covid 19 surge 

"Our children are dying. From two weeks old to two years old to four years old. You cannot make it up. Our children are dying” " New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said at a news conference.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Dr. Heather Haq, a pediatrician at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, described an increase in both coronavirus and R. S. V. hospitalizations. Dr. Haq is also the chief medical officer for the Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital.“After many months of zero or few pediatric Covid cases, we are seeing infants, children and teens with Covid pouring back into the hospital, more and more each day,” she wrote, adding that patients have ranged in age from 2 weeks to 17 years old, including some with Covid pneumonias.“We are on the front end of a huge Covid surge,” wrote Dr. Haq

(Not everyone shares the perspective of the importance of being informed, to be prepared, and to adapt.  However, if you do, please read on to learn more on recent findings from doctors on the frontline of the Delta variant surge.)

Forecasting is an important strategy to mitigate disasters.  It is also an important public health tool in protection and prevention.  When government official reports lack up-to date transparency about COVID-19 and Children, grassroots efforts are made to collectively bring forth the information needed to stay informed.  We don’t want to find out the truth when it’s too late and we need to react.  Find out the what’s really happening with the Delta variant and kids.

Their overwhelming message, don't wait until it's too late, stay safe, use the best protective tool available, and get vaccinated.

(22 Jul 2021) A medical official in Louisiana is bracing for what she expects will be thousands more cases of COVID-19 in the coming weeks, including many more young people than have been infected up until now. Dr. Catherine O'Neal is the chief medical officer at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge. She's also an infectious disease expert. "Delta virus is much more infectious. Its viral load is thousands of times higher than our previous variants," said O'Neal in an interview with The Associated Press. "It's going to make even the average healthy person sick now as opposed to that person may have had great antibodies for last year's virus, or at least some immune system for it, but not this year." She's blunt about vaccine hesitancy. "Lots of people are going to do OK with COVID. That's that's not why we get the vaccine. We get the vaccine because the people around us, we're actually contributing to their health and we'll contribute to their death if we're unvaccinated."