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The Hawaii Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn Program (HK) was established to enhance and build school-based services to achieve four core goals within the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) public school system and one core goal to support the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) Nancy Atmospera-Walch School of Nursing (NAWSON) and the Hawaii healthcare workforce:

  • reduce health-related chronic absenteeism and minimize interruption to instructional time
  • enhance wellness in the school environment and community
  • promote optimal student health through preventive screening and effective services for chronic health conditions
  • collaborate with community partners and organizations to provide coordinated school health programs, services and resources
  • promote the profession of nursing

As the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic continued across the globe, HIDOE recognized the need to return to in-person learning in order to address the impacts the highly communicable virus had on the attendance of in-person education and health disparities created or magnified by the COVID-19 pandemic, including reduced childhood immunization rates and increased behavioral health needs.  The positive impact of HK was validated by the request for additional on-campus school support over the summer in order to prepare for the 2021-22 school year as well as ongoing support utilizing the HK health hotline and telehealth to serve students and families remotely.  The theme for the HK Program for SY21-22 was expansion in both capacity and capability.

Through financial support provided by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and HIDOE Elementary and Secondary Education Emergency Relief Funds, the key expansion efforts included:

  • 40% increase in Registered Nurse (RN) support to HIDOE schools resulting in a 42% decrease in the nurse to student ratio (1:5294 in SY21 to 1:3065 in SY22)
  • Expanded capability by implementing COVID testing in schools
    • screening and testing in schools through DOH contracts
    • diagnostic testing in Hawaii Keiki nurse clinics
  • Expanded capability to include virtual behavioral health services
  • Expanded capability to include 98 School Health Support Staff (SHSS) to assist school administrators with health needs related to COVID
  • Increased capacity of Virtual Keiki Care (VKC) to 15 RNs with the capability to conduct virtual visits with an APRN
  • Increased capability to include Vaccine For Children (VFC) program in one Complex Area as a pilot
  • Increased the capacity of the HK – Hawaii Dental Service (HDS) Dental Sealant Program (DSP) by expanding to Maui and Kauai
  • Implemented two new partnerships
    • Texas A & M University for the Comprehensive Healthcare for Adolescents Initiative (CHAI)
    • Hui No Ke Ola Pono in Maui for the Dental Sealant Program

To obtain a copy of the full report, please contact the Hawaii Keiki Program at

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