With Covid-19 cases spiking in Hawaii in early August, Ka‘iulani Akamine decided the risk was too high to send her medically fragile daughter, then entering the second grade at Kahaluu Elementary, back to campus.
The 8-year-old girl has a history of seizures and her own doctor suggested she not head back to school until she can receive the vaccine.
Akamine faced few alternatives since the state Department of Education was pushing to get as many kids as possible back to class this school year after a prolonged period of mostly remote learning.
The DOE established a statewide distance learning program for students whose parents wanted to keep them home due to the pandemic, but it has limited seats, not to mention few accommodations for kids with disabilities. Special education students receive specialized services based on their Individualized Education Programs, such as counseling, or physical, occupational or speech therapy.