2020-21 School Year

Blended operations in full swing

Following four-day orientation period to normalize safety procedures and protocols,
first day of on-campus and online schedule for entire K-12 student body was Sept. 25

(Oct. 2, 2020) -- ‘Iolani School students began returning to campus for safety orientation and in-person instruction on Monday, Sept. 21. The school based its campus reopening decision on the decreasing trend of COVID-19 positive test results in our community and criteria from the World Health Organization on safely returning to school. The first day of blended operations with a full on-campus and online schedule for the entire K-12 student body was on Friday, Sept. 25.

The first four days of the campus reopening (Sept. 21-24) was a phased return with portions of the student body, focused on orienting students, faculty and staff, and normalizing all of the new safety procedures and protocols. The orientation and safety training period was not an activity that could be performed remotely.

The days back on campus allowed smaller groups of students to be oriented to:

  • The proper use of PPE — face shield and masks will be worn in class and face shields (with no mask) for outdoor activities
  • Daily check-ins on a health app
  • Hand washing or sanitizing before each class
  • New traffic patterns in buildings
  • Outdoor tent locations for additional classroom space, lunch and free periods
  • New procedures for delivery of meals
  • New tracking and tracing system

School leaders spent months preparing for the return of students, faculty and staff, including:

  • Safely distancing desks in all classrooms
  • Adding several large tents to the campus to create outdoor spaces for learning and free periods
  • Implementing a new health app as well as contact tracing procedure
  • Designing grade-level cohorts
  • Creating more than 2,000 special face shields which will be worn throughout the day along with face masks
  • Hiring additional teachers and proctors to assist with a hybrid learning model to offer online instruction along with classroom instruction for students or teachers who are not able to be on-campus for health reasons

“The emotional and social wellbeing of our community are equally important to the academic experience," Head of School Dr. Timothy Cottrell said. “Testing has shown a high degree of protection when wearing both masks and face shields. With these layers of PPE, regular hand hygiene, and social distancing, our students, faculty and staff will be able to interact in a safe way. We are committed to maintaining educational excellence even in these unique times.”

‘Iolani School has been working on the development of these plans with the on-going guidance of experts in the medical field including ‘Iolani alumnus Jerome Kim, M.D., Director General of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), and ‘Iolani Board Chair Mark M. Mugiishi, M.D., F.A.C.S., President and Chief Executive Officer at HMSA and co-leader of Governor David Ige’s Hawaii Economic and Community Recovery & Resiliency Plan.


The graphic and explanations below indicate the current conditions within our external community (State of Hawai‘i), as well as conditions internal to our ‘Iolani School community. This is how the school gauges what it can and cannot do, and determines modifications to operations.

  • Number of new hospital cases requires preparation of hospital surge/crisis plans
  • Median number of new cases per day per week indicates local, controlled cases
  • 50-80% of max capacity of testing would be reached at current rate of new cases/close contacts per day

  • Medium-risk activities with some possible high-risk activities
  • Prepare to resume highest risk activities
  • Travel and quarantine restrictions as per State mandate
  • High-risk populations and kupuna should continue to say at home when possible

  • Low number of identified COVID-19 cases for members of the school community
  • Single identified on-campus transmission of COVID-19
  • Low number of faculty, staff and student quarantine on a cohort-basis
  • Higher percent of students, faculty and staff reporting elevated temperature and higher absenteeism

  • On-campus and case-specific online instruction
  • Full protocol for PPE, social distancing, hand-hygiene and sanitization
    • Full implementation as per plan
    • Analysis and revision if on-campus transmission occurs
  • Cohorting in use with activity-defined locations for all students
    • Full implementation as per plan
    • Analysis and revision if on-campus transmission occurs
  • Tracking and tracing used for each identified case/close contact
  • Athletics and co-curricular activities available with full prevention protocols in place
    • Intra-school activities as per ‘Iolani athletics restrictions plan
    • Inter-school activities as per ILH and HHSAA restriction guidelines
  • Travel and quarantine restrictions as per State mandate and ‘Iolani Handbook


Updated Nov. 14, 2020
CALENDAR ANNOUNCEMENT: Two new school holiday dates added -- Monday, Feb. 2, and Monday, March 1
Updated Nov. 4 and 2, 2020
ATHLETICS UPDATE: Updated information on resumption of in-person conditioning and skill development
Updated Oct. 29, 2020
DRESS CODE ANNOUNCEMENT: Section on Upper School Dress Code adjustments for 2020-21 school year added
Updated Oct. 16, 2020
CALENDAR ANNOUNCEMENT: Two new school holiday dates added -- Monday, Nov. 2, and Friday, Dec. 4
Updated Sept. 7, 2020
ON-CAMPUS OPERATIONS NOTICE: Announcement that students will begin return to campus on Sept. 21
Updated Aug. 20, 2020
DISTANCE LEARNING PLAN: Updated version of Distance Learning Plan PDF posted (draft v.8/20/20)
Updated Aug. 7, 2020
CAMPUS CLOSURE NOTICES: Message from Dr. Cottrell, regarding school opening online for K-12 on Aug. 24
Updated Aug. 7, 2020
REOPENING PLAN: Updates to COVID-19 policies of Campus Reopening Plan PDF (draft v.8/7/20)

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and we want you to know that our No. 1 priority is always the health and safety of our students. The information, resources, policies and procedures outlined below provide an extra level of care and safety in our school community and provide guidance.



Based on student input and faculty feedback, ‘Iolani School added four additional school holiday dates to the 2020-21 calendar. The first one was on Monday, Nov. 2. There also will be no classes in the Lower and Upper Schools on:

  • Friday, Dec. 4
  • Monday, Feb. 1
  • Monday, March 1

School offices and libraries also will be closed on these days, providing a break for ‘Iolani students, faculty and staff. 


CDC Information

Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
Wash your hands often
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
  • Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Outside your home: Put 6 feet (about 2 arms-length) of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and disinfect
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work.
Monitor Your Health Daily
  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.