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.  

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?

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.

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.

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


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.

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

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Ā ā  Ū  ū  Ō  ō.

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

  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.

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.