Frequently Asked Questions: 2021-2022 Academic Year

HPA ‘ohana: We understand that you have questions and we’re here to help

Given the dynamic nature of the situation, these FAQ responses will be updated as developments occur. The FAQs reflect HPA’s current policies and will be amended as needed in response to new circumstances — including adjustments based on any federal, state, or county government mandates.

If you have a question that is not answered below, please email us at: safety@hpa.edu.


Academic Schedule

Our academic schedules prioritize a commitment to safe, in-person instruction with fewer COVID-19 restrictions and flexibility should we need to pivot to our Continuous Learning Plan. While many other educational institutions are tentatively returning to classrooms for the first time this fall, we are set to benefit from the sound planning and safety protocols that allowed us to successfully offer face-to-face instruction last year. With that in mind, we do not anticipate offering hybrid or online learning, and will instead focus our efforts on continuing to build upon our in-person instruction and pre-pandemic programming.

  • When does school start for the 2021- 2022 academic year?

    • Opening Days on all three divisions will begin on Monday, August 16. Boarding students will arrive on campus August 9-10, for their orientation. Specific details with the schedule for the first few weeks of school will be sent out later this summer.
    • Upper School Opening Days & Orientation are your first few days as an HPA student. Our student ambassadors, student council, residential prefects, and faculty will all be there to greet and assist you when you arrive for Opening Days and Orientation from August 16-17. You’ll receive orientation and important information, become familiar with the campus, and have lots of opportunities to get to know your roommates, classmates, teachers, and administrators. Opening Days are also full of fun! We will explore some of the most beautiful locations on our island, and engage in lots of meaningful activities. Another email will be sent to you later in the summer with a schedule for Opening Days and more information to ensure you have the best possible days as you settle into your new home.
  • Will there be any online learning?

    • We are prepared to pivot to our Continuous Learning Plan if necessary. However, we intend to have a full schedule of face-to-face instruction. 
  • What are the school breaks for this academic year?

    • All key dates (school opening, closures, and holidays) can be located on the myHPA calendar. All dates are subject to change, so please refer to this calendar often.
    • Family Weekend: September 30 – October 2, 2021
    • Thanksgiving: November 25 – 26, 2021
    • Winter Break: December 16, 2021 – January 3, 2022 (Dorms close at noon on December 17 and all residential students return to campus on January 4)
    • Spring Break:  March 14 – 25, 2022 
    • Last day of classes, K-12: May 18, 2022
    • First day of Summer Break, K-11: May 19, 2022
    • 71st Annual Commencement Exercises: May 20, 2022
  • What will co-curricular activities and athletics look like in the fall?

    • It is our intention to resume our Lower and Middle School After School programming and our Upper School co-curricular activities and athletics as normal. There may still be some limitations on spectators, along with a revised calendar of competitions. HPA will offer limited live-streaming of events, as possible. We will communicate our specific plans with students and parents, once additional guidelines are released by the Department of Education and the Big Island Interscholastic Federation (BIIF).

Heath and Safety

Over the past academic year, HPA has implemented health and safety protocols to reduce the potential transmission and/or spread of COVID-19. While many of those policies will remain in effect for the 2021-2022 academic year, we will continuously review and assess our protocols to determine whether updates will need to be made as a result of changing conditions. 

  • How is HPA planning to keep our community as safe as possible?

    • Vaccination: HPA’s safety plan for the 2021-2022 academic year prioritizes vaccinations as a means toward improving everyone’s overall health and risk for exposure to COVID-19.If HPA is able to reach a community immunity rate of 90%, we will be able to reassess our COVID-19 protocols and adjust most restrictions. Why 90%? As a smaller, tight-knit, international K-12 boarding school, our capacity to serve our residential community would be limited by anything less. In order to track our vaccination rate, we are asking all families to update their children’s vaccination records within Magnus Health on myHPA. Families will be asked to provide a copy of their child’s vaccination card by uploading it into the “Immunization Requirement” on Magnus Health through myHPA
    • Vaccination has been identified as the most critical tool at our disposal for combatting COVID-19 and achieving a return to pre-pandemic student life on our campuses and within our community. At least one vaccine has been approved for children ages 12-15, with the possibility that another will be made available in the next few weeks, and so we anticipate that a majority of our eligible students will be vaccinated before returning to school in the fall. We recognize that some of our students may live in areas where access to vaccinations are more limited, and to assist in our goal of reaching 90% community immunity we will be hosting a vaccination clinic in September. In the meantime, we are happy to work with all families to connect them with vaccination opportunities this summer. While HPA strongly encourages all those who are eligible to get vaccinated, at this time, it is not required of students or employees. 
    • Physical distancing: HPA understands that one of the key components for slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19 is physical distancing. Following the CDC and the Hawaiʻi Department of Health guidelines, classrooms have been adjusted to allow for 3 feet of distance between students indoors, though class sizes will return to normal capacity. Assemblies and other gatherings will occur with appropriate distancing measures.
    • COVID-19 Testing: For the health and safety of our school community, HPA will require unvaccinated students and employees who travel to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus. In addition, regardless of vaccination status, all residential students will be tested before being released from their residential cohorts. Our HPA Safety Committee is working on a detailed plan for testing utilizing the most effective, less intrusive, and affordable options. Updates will be provided prior to the start of the academic year.
    • Temperature Scans and Symptom Checks: We will no longer be doing temperature checks at the beginning of each day. Some grade levels, Lower and Middle School, will have symptom checks in their classrooms. Any student who has a temperature higher than our established guideline will be sent home or to the infirmary. Upper School day students will be required to check-in at the Student Life Office prior to attending their first class.
    • Hand washing and increased cleaning: Hand washing will continue to be enforced as a daily routine utilizing the outdoor sinks installed on both campuses. Hand sanitizer will also continue to be readily available. In addition, we will maintain frequent cleanings in classrooms, restrooms, and all shared spaces.
    • Traffic flow: We will continue our efforts to monitor students during transitions between spaces to adhere to CDC guidelines.
  • Will students and faculty be required to wear masks and other types of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)? 

    • HPA’s Mask Policy: All students and faculty will be required to bring a clean mask to school each day. Wearing a mask will be required indoors at all times, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are optional, but will no longer be required outdoors. More details will be shared with students during Opening Days in August. 
  • What steps will be taken if a student tests positive for COVID-19? 

    • Day students who become symptomatic will be sent home immediately. We will follow contact tracing protocols and individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 will self-isolate for 10-days. Students will need to maintain their course work independently, as virtually learning will not be offered during the required quarantine period. Students will be able to access their assignments in myHPA and should reach out to teachers for clarification and any additional support they may need. Students will be required to have clearance from a licensed U.S. health care provider prior to returning to campus.
    • Boarding students will be taken from our infirmary to one of several alternate residential spaces that are isolated from our main residence hall. Our nursing and residential staff will be fitted with proper PPE to provide student care. We will follow contact tracing protocols and individuals who may have been exposed to  COVID-19 will be quarantined for 10-days. Students will need to maintain their course work independently, as virtually learning will not be offered during the required quarantine period. Students will be able to access their assignments in myHPA and should reach out to teachers for clarification and any additional support they may need. Students will be required to have clearance from a licensed U.S. health care provider prior to returning to the general population.
  • Will the general cleaning and sanitization of buildings be increased? 

    Yes, additional protocols and schedules for cleaning  throughout the day will be in place.  In addition, we will be installing handwashing and hand sanitizing stations across both campuses.

  • How will social distancing and health guidelines be followed for lunch?

    We are working with FLIK Hospitality, our dining services provider, to explore meal options that ensure physical distancing and safe meal services. Weather-permitting, Lower and Middle School students will have the option to eat lunch outside on the Village Campus or in their classrooms. However, they will not be utilizing the main cafeteria. As for our Upper School students, lunch on the Upper Campus will be spaced out over an extended period and offered between the cafeteria, Kennedy Square, Ko Kākou Hale Student Union, select classrooms and outside — depending on the weather.


Residential Life

Our close-knit community is what makes us so special—we are all part of the HPA ʻohana. Along with many faculty and staff, a large portion of our Upper School students live on campus. We are committed to making our campus as safe as possible for everyone.

When boarding students return to campus in August, we will be working quickly to get as many students vaccinated as possible. Due to the limited availability of the various vaccines outside of the United States, we are aware that we may not be able to reach a community immunity vaccination threshold of 90% at the very beginning of the year. As a result, our health and safety protocols at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year will be very similar to our policies before school ended in May. This means masks will still need to be worn indoors, physical distancing between students will still need to be maintained, and dorm cohorts will still remain in effect to help minimize potential spread should a positive case occur in one of our residence halls. We are hopeful that within roughly five weeks of the start of school, we will be able to hit 90% community immunity within our residential population that will allow us to transition to our updated, less restrictive protocols. Once we do, boarding life at HPA will return in many ways to pre-COVID-19 conditions — including students no longer needing to wear masks inside of their dormitories and being able to visit each other’s dorm or sit together indoors, along with the occasional sleepover.

Students preparing to arrive in August can help with this effort by making appointments as soon as possible to get vaccinated, if they have not already, and by uploading their vaccination card into the “Immunization Requirement” on Magnus Health through myHPA as soon as their series is complete. The sooner we can confirm that 90% or more of our boarding students have been vaccinated, the sooner we will be able to enjoy a much more authentic and full HPA experience.

  • How will you monitor and care for the health of boarding students?

    • We are thrilled that so many of our residential students who were of eligible age returned home for the summer fully vaccinated. Now that the minimum age for COVID-19 vaccinations has dropped to 12-years-old, we hope everyone has the opportunity to get fully vaccinated before August. A vaccinated boarding population is our key to a more normal fall semester, so it is our hope to be able to transition to our herd immunity protocols sooner rather than later.
    • We are able to provide focused care with a school nurse dedicated to each dormitory. Should a positive case occur on our campus, we have a regular check-in schedule and quarantine procedures in place.
  • I am a returning student. What will be different?

    Most of the COVID-19 health and safety protocols that were implemented last year will remain in place until our boarding population reaches a majority vaccination rate of 90%, which will allow us to implement community immunity policies following best practices as outlined by the CDC.

    • Room visitation
    Less than 90% Community Immunity: Students may not enter any other students’ rooms.

    90% Community Immunity: Students will be able to visit each other’s rooms within their dormitories and occasionally have sleepovers, with permission.


    • Cross-dorm visitation
    Less than 90% Community Immunity: Students may not enter any other dormitory than their own.

    90% Community Immunity: Students will be able to visit other dormitory common rooms, and individual rooms, with permission.


    • Mask-wearing while in dorms
    Less than 90% Community Immunity: Masks must be worn at all times indoors, except when showering, brushing your teeth, washing your face, or in your own room.

    90% Community Immunity: Masks will no longer be required in dormitories, unless specifically and individually requested by a member of our health services team (in the event of other, more common, communicable diseases such as strep throat, etc.)


    • Bus capacity
    Less than 90% Community Immunity: Two students per seat with masks on and windows open.

    90% Community Immunity: Two students per seat with masks on and windows open (doesn’t change).


    • Indoor eating (dorm commons)
    Less than 90% Community Immunity: Students will be allowed to eat indoors only when maintaining proper physical distance. Students will not be allowed to share food in groups.

    90% Community Immunity: Students will be able to share group snacks again for things like activities and group cooking.


    • Physical distancing
    Less than 90% Community Immunity: Students are to observe three feet of physical distance indoors and will need to wear a mask indoors at all times.

    90% Community Immunity: Students will be able to sit closer together again, and share furniture such as couches.


    • Physical activities/sports
    Less than 90% Community Immunity: Students will be allowed to play outdoor sports without masks. We will announce our mask-wearing policy for indoor sports before the beginning of the academic year.

    90% Community Immunity: Students will be able to enjoy activities like Open Gym on weekends without masks.


    • Weekend sign-outs
    Less than 90% Community Immunity: Weekend sign-outs are COVID-19 condition-dependent based upon the Hawaiʻi County positivity rate utilizing the following metrics: <2% positivity rate = school-sponsored excursions will run; <1.5% positivity rate = day passes for eligible students will be issued; <1% positivity rate = overnight requests for eligible students will be approved.

    90% Community Immunity: These metrics will remain in place, but the numbers will be adjusted to the following: <5% positivity rate = school-sponsored excursions will run; <4% positivity rate = day passes for eligible students will be issued; <3% positivity rate = overnight requests for eligible students will be approved.

  • How will you manage the use of residential facilities, such as bathrooms, laundry, dorm halls, etc.?

    • Students will be divided into so-called “dorm pods” based on the facilities that they must share with other students. Students within those groups will function as a family unit, with access to their given facilities, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. Students not in a particular dorm pod will not be allowed to enter the area of another dorm pod, in much the same way that male students have not been allowed in female residence halls, and vice versa. Socializing between groups will be an outdoor activity.
  • Will there be activities on the weekends?

    • Yes! By fully utilizing the many resources available on our 200-acre campus, as well as planning additional outdoor activity options, we expect that students will continue to have many great options for enrichment on weekends that builds upon what we offered last year. 
  • Will there be weekend leaves to go home or to friends’ houses?

    • We anticipate that students will be able to sign out to on-island friends following our established leave metrics. Weekend sign-outs are COVID-19 condition-dependent based upon the Hawaiʻi County positivity rate utilizing the following metrics: <2% positivity rate = school-sponsored excursions will run; <1.5% positivity rate = day passes for eligible students will be issued; <1% positivity rate = overnight requests for eligible students will be approved.
  • Can boarding students stay in the dormitories during school break?

    • While it is our hope that travel will have gotten easier by the end of the Fall semester, we anticipate the possibility that some students may desire to avoid traveling home for winter break due to various quarantine hurdles. Therefore students may request to stay in the dormitories over winter break, for an additional fee.
  • Will boarding students be allowed to travel throughout the semester?

    • We strongly discourage students from traveling off-island during this time. Traveling before vaccination and community immunity will involve quarantines out of the dormitories that will likely have to be managed by the student’s families, and may mean multiple missed weeks of in-person instruction.