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Tag Archives: Medical

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Link between health, school start times is eye-opening

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Studies have shown that students tend to perform better in school with more sleep. Because of at-home learning during the pandemic, the nation’s children invariably caught extra sleep in the morning without having to catch the bus, or needing to be ready for school so Mom or Dad could drop them off on the way to work.

With so many facets of education changed in the recent past, start time deserves a look.

Children aged 6-12 need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night for good health, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Students 13-18 should have 8 to 10 hours nightly.

We’re not the first generation to consider children’s health as it relates to sleep, though. Concerns go back a century, long before smartphones connected kids to their friends around the clock. Recent studies show that lack of sleep can lead to numerous physical and mental health issues among children, including depression, obesity, injuries and loss of self-esteem. Still, it’s hard to pin down specific numbers for the amount that children need, according to at least one study from the journal Sleep.

The invention of the snooze button and caffeinated drinks shows that we all could use a few more minutes of sleep. But does a later start time for school help in that regard?

That’s a question that researchers from the Campbell Collaboration sought to answer in their study, “Later school start times for supporting the education, health and well-being of high school students: a systematic review.

That research indicated that:

  1. More sleep will help children with mental health and school performance.
  2. More research needs to be conducted on the topic.

In a study published in the Nature and Science of Sleep in late 2020, researchers found that a group of students who slept longer on school nights during the academic year performed better overall in class. The study, conducted by members of the psychology department at Sapienza University of Rome, concluded that, “Findings indicate that a one-hour delay in school start time is associated with longer sleep, better diurnal sustained attention, attendance, and improved academic performance.”

Another study from the Journal of Adolescence sought to determine whether increased use of electronic devices hampered youths’ sleep, thereby affecting classroom work. The results were stated straight-forward by the researchers, who were drawn from Taiwan, Norway and South Africa: “This research reveals a vicious cycle of burnout, disturbed sleep and academic achievement.”

I can see it now: Bleary-eyed teens begging parents to let them sleep a little longer, asking, “Don’t you want me to be smarter?”

Telecommuting can play a large part in this change as well. The U.S. Census Bureau found that nearly 37 percent of households reported at least one individual increased their time working from home from August-December, 2020 because of the pandemic. That means that transportation previously used to commute to work was now available for other uses, for instance — taking children to school later in the morning.

The topic is opening eyes nationwide. California enacted a law that set start times no earlier than 8 a.m. for elementary schools, and no earlier than 8:30 a.m. for the state’s high schools, as reported by EdSource. The measure takes effect in 2022, but some schools — such as Chico’s Pleasant Valley High School — have already instituted the mandates, according to KRCR-TV.

In Minnesota, the Eden Prairie Schools launched a task force to study start times and their effect on students. The district found that later start times would benefit the students in the district, and adopted new times for the 2021-22 school year.

In New York, Niskayuna High School students will be getting more sleep this year, thanks to later start times that resulted from efforts set forth in 2017 as reported by the Daily Gazette.

Meanwhile in Springfield, Missouri, district officials plan to review the new start times at mid-year, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

If you haven’t dozed off while reading this, you probably see that more sleep can only help our children. Nailing down the logistics with schools is another matter.

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How telemedicine is the future of healthcare

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The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we do a lot of things and, even with many countries finally opening back up, there are some changes that are sure to last far beyond the pandemic. One of these changes is the advancement of telemedicine.

Telemedicine has been on the rise for many years. In fact, it may surprise you to know that the earliest telemedicine was as far back as the 1920s, when ship clinicians used to receive medical advice via radio. Of course, we’ve come a very long way since then, and this method of practicing medicine has advanced at a rapid rate, with the most recent development being veterinarians offering virtual visits in 2020.

In early 2020, at the start of the pandemic, physicians performed 1,629,000 telemedicine visits. Sixty-nine percent of patients have now had at least one virtual visit and they’re eager to keep this “new normal” moving forward. In fact, studies show that telehealth increased patient satisfaction and retention by 81.5%.

Find out why telemedicine is the future of medicine in the infographic below.

Infographic courtesy Online Medical Services

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Encouraging mental health awareness in the classroom

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Educators teach students about more than math and science. They also establish spaces where kids develop their social skills and learn more about themselves. It’s a critical place for introducing topics surrounding mental health, but that might be tricky to integrate into lesson plans.

If you’re wondering how to encourage mental health awareness in the classroom, try these tips and watch your students thrive.

1. Hang Special Posters

Teachers utilize their classrooms to establish safe environments, so play with your surroundings. You can figure out how to encourage mental health awareness at school by printing new posters.

Hang relevant material that students will see every day. Signs listing symptoms of depression or anxiety will normalize the conditions so they’re easier for kids to recognize and discuss.

2. Increase Their Self-Esteem

You can also discover how to teach mental health awareness through developing your students’ self-esteem. They’ll need more confidence to defeat discouraging thoughts that could morph into depression.

Merge mental health and classroom culture by giving students more responsibility in projects. When they succeed, they’ll gain confidence in their abilities and be better prepared to fight mental health symptoms.

3. Invite a Speaker

Kids might struggle with stress and anxiety because they’re scared. They don’t know much about the world yet, but you can expand their horizons by inviting a speaker. A professional in the mental wellness world will increase your students’ positivity by giving them valuable tools from their life experience. Young people will feel more positive about their future if they can see themselves in others who already achieved success.

4. Teach Healthy Outlets

Teaching about healthy outlets is another way teachers can learn how to encourage mental health awareness in the classroom. Give students more control over their mental health with tools to release pent-up daily anxieties or vent their stress.

They’ll deal with things by dancing, meditating or working on their art instead of relying on unhealthy coping mechanisms. Practicing these outlets even once a week empowers students to build a brighter future, no matter their personal battles.

5. Address Forms of Discrimination

Discrimination in the classroom can lead to symptoms of depression. It can come in the form of lessons that lack diversity or bullying among students. Addressing these issues is another way teachers can figure out how to teach mental health awareness.

Update your lesson plans so they include voices from minority communities and images that reflect people of different backgrounds. Talk about how bullying can take on multiple forms, like verbal or digital harassment. Students will be able to spot negative mental health symptoms if they can identify the situations sparking those issues.

6. Create a Safe Space

Combine your mental health and classroom culture concerns by creating a safe space for conversations. Talk about these issues with nonjudgmental word choices and tones. Encourage your students to come to you with any questions or concerns. They’ll become more open to mental wellness topics if they don’t feel judged or ostracized.

Encourage Mental Health Awareness in the Classroom

Educators can learn how to encourage mental health awareness at school by using these tips to change everything from the classroom environment to your lesson plans. Normalize these discussions and encourage students to come forward with concerns and develop the skills they need to take care of themselves.

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What does the research say about COVID-19 safety protocols in schools?

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I noticed the other day as I walked the halls of my high school that no one follows all the one-way floor stickers we placed all over the building last summer — no one. The funny thing is, no one has been following them at the Demoulas Market Basket grocery store I shop at either. Maybe that’s why the grocery store got rid of them last week. I just told my head custodian to do the same this summer when they do their annual deep clean and waxing of our school floors.

The floor stickers may be one example of a safety protocol that we won’t need this fall, but we know that COVID won’t be gone. The question is, what protocols will we need?

In a recent article, Education Week’s Sarah Sparks reports on “Masks, Tracking, Desk Shields: How Much Do School Measures Reduce Families’ COVID-19 Risk?

She writes, “The number and kind of protections schools put in place now can make a big difference in the risk that those students will bring the illness home to family members, according to a study published last month in the journal Science. Even as more adults and older students become vaccinated, the study suggests no one safety measure will be a silver bullet when it comes to preventing COVID-19.”

The study, published in April, analyzed data from a large online survey in the United States that found increased risk for COVID for individuals who live with a child who attends school in-person. The study went on to note, “School-based mitigation measures are associated with significant reductions in risk, particularly daily symptoms screens, teacher masking, and closure of extra-curricular activities.”

Furthermore, the authors of the study concluded this: “While in-person schooling is associated with household COVID-19 risk, this risk can likely be controlled with properly implemented school-based mitigation measures.”

So, what exactly are the best school-based mitigation measures for COVID? Here are some suggestions that were pointed out in the study which included data from more than 600,000 families attending 130,000 schools. These strategies were associated with the biggest reductions in the risk of family members developing COVID-like symptoms or testing positive for COVID-19.

Daily symptom screenings: Schools should have a process to perform these daily screenings, and also have procedures to make sure that students with symptoms stay home without penalty.

Teacher masking: One reason that I have found as a principal that teacher masking is effective is one you may not think of — the masks serve as a physical reminder to students to take extra precautions to maintain their personal space and practice good hygiene.

Elimination of extra-curricular activities: It can be an unpopular decision or a school to make, but the research showed lower risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools that put the brakes on extra-curricular activities as they are often much more difficult to monitor and enforce health and safety protocols.

Interestingly, the study found almost no benefit to closing playgrounds or using desk shields. The desk shield topic is of particular interest to me as a principal, especially since I spent a fairly hefty price on plexiglass this past summer so that we could manufacture our own desk shields for classroom and lab spaces at my school.

Teachers in the study reported that the shields actually made them have to get closer to students to hear them. They also restrict air flow, which could make the virus stay around longer in the classroom than if the shield wasn’t there in the first place.

There is no doubt that as we enter the summer months and look to the fall, as school leaders we will still be faced with the reality of needing to implement some COVID-mitigating strategies in schools. We aren’t out of the woods yet, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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Infographic: 8 tips to defeat work stress

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In today’s world, work often causes us stress. Especially now, with more people working from home, it can make it that much harder to stop worrying about work projects and issues and just enjoy your home life.

If work is starting to stress you out, you might be starting to notice some physical and health-related problems that have been caused by too much stress. You might find yourself getting more headaches, acne, or unable to sleep.

All these problems can be easily combatted by trying to perform some self-care activities even when you are stressed. In the infographic below, courtesy of The Derm Review, you will find eight different ways that you can use self-care to help combat work-related stress today.

Infographic courtesy The Derm Review

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Dreaming of international travel? You may need a vaccine passport

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Have you heard of the term “vaccine passport?” Well, if you plan to travel internationally in 2021 and perhaps for the foreseeable future, you may just have to get one. Travel-related businesses and international governments may soon ask for digital documentation that proves that passengers have been vaccinated or tested for the COVID-19 virus.

Denmark plans to roll out a digital passport in the next three to four months to allow citizens to show they have been vaccinated. The Biden administration has asked government agencies to determine how feasible it is to link COVID-19 vaccination and produce digital versions of vaccination documents.

As for businesses, Etihad Airways and Emirates have both announced that they will start using a digital travel pass soon. Developed by the International Air Transport Association, it will help provide governments and airlines documentation that passengers have been vaccinated or tested for the deadly virus.

So, when can you travel again? Will the vaccine passports help? Many countries are planning extensive campaigns to lure in international visitors, though the need for caution remains high. Governments worldwide suggest caution, but there is also pressure from the travel industry, which has suffered unprecedented losses during the pandemic. The result is the joint effort to open up with specific criteria like proving vaccination and negative results.

However, the World Health Organization and others are yet to endorse the idea of the digital health passports that carriers are pushing. The aim is to replace the mandatory quarantines with these documents and entice more people to book flights. Their caution is understandable. A negative test or vaccination does not entirely rule out the risk of COVID-19.

One thing is certain. There needs to be consistency and harmonization of rules when it comes to international travel. Unless there is consistency, the process may thwart passengers more than ever. The need of the hour is to establish global standards for digital vaccination certificates. Evidence of vaccination can serve as proof and eliminate the need for quarantine on arrival, a policy that is also standing in the way of the return of international tourism.

The process is not a new one, however. For decades, international travelers have had to show documentation proving that they have been vaccinated against diseases such as rubella, yellow fever, and cholera. Of course, not every country required it, but most did. However, the digital component proposed today is different from those past documents. The focus is on developing universal standards for the vaccine and making them accessible and equitable via apps.

Which countries are opening up for tourists soon?

Some Mediterranean nations were among the first to welcome tourists in the summer of

2020. Caribbean and some Asian countries followed next. They have all, barring a few exceptions, have lifted travel restrictions, reopened borders, and allowed commercial flights to resume. Countries that have welcomed tourists with wide-open arms include Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Which say no?

Australia is yet to reopen at all, with it saying might not welcome international visitors until the end of 2021.

Great Britain announced a phased travel plan where International travel from England will be banned until May 17 at the earliest, though vaccinated individuals may travel more freely internationally.

The United States needs all international travelers to the country to take a viral COVID-19 test within three days of departure for the U.S. They will have to provide documentation of a negative antigen or PCR result before being allowed to board.

In Canada, foreign nationals, including Americans, are not welcome except for those who have dual citizenship or are Canadian residents. The border between the two U.S. and Canada remains closed. Canada also announced that it would ban all cruise ships carrying more than 100 passengers from calling on Canadian ports through February 28, 2022. Stricter travel restrictions are in place for Canadians traveling to the Caribbean and Mexico through April 30.

Clearly, full-scale global travel won’t happen till 2022 or perhaps 2023. It is a bleak reality to face for many airlines and travel businesses. They are lobbying hard to get the vaccine passport idea approved by WHO, but the global health body remains unmoved. The decline of international leisure travel is persisting, and the travel industry’s losses will be close to $3.3 trillion by March 2021.

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Is the pandemic to blame for lower college enrollments?

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As is customary for a high school principal who lives in the community that he serves, when I see my former students out and about in town I always ask them how they are doing and what they have been up to since graduation.

This season, I have been surprised to hear about the number of my students who have chosen to defer their freshman year of college. Among all of the reasons given, these three pandemic-related ones are often cited:

  • Uncomfortability with living in a dorm during the pandemic.
  • Dislike for a remote learning format (especially if paying the same tuition rate as an in person format).
  • Lack of money/finances due to other constraints in the family.

This trend is not just reserved for undergraduates. In the last three months, I have hired five of my recent graduates as temporary teachers because they finished their undergraduate degree but want to put off starting graduate school for the same reasons listed above.

I know my students’ situations are not unique, but rather part of a global trend. It seems, for the 20-something Generation Zers in our society, the pandemic has put many of their educational plans on hold for now.

Recently, Mind/Shift’s Elissa Nadworny reported that fall 2020 college enrollment plummeted for first-year students. Nadworny writes, “According to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse, undergraduate enrollment this fall declined by 3.6% from the fall of 2019. That’s more than 560,000 students and twice the rate of enrollment decline seen last year. Most of that decline occurred at community colleges, where enrollment fell by more than 10%, or more than 544,000 students.”

Indeed, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, which tracks college admissions, matriculation, and compilation rates, first-year college enrollments for the class of 2020 is down 22%, compared to the class of 2019. Perhaps the most alarming part of this statistic, according to National Student Clearinghouse Research Center Executive Director Doug Shapiro, is this: “…the pandemic impacted high school graduates in their immediate college enrollment, and those from high poverty, low income, and urban high schools have been hit the hardest.”

As Nadworny reports, the trend has put many colleges and universities into dire financial situations, with community colleges and other small schools feeling the brunt of the impact. This has forced many colleges to take drastic measures, including furloughs/layoffs for staff, cancellation of athletics and other programs, and cutting of academic courses, programs, and/or degrees.

The short supply of students is a problem that will continue to plague these schools even after the pandemic ends. A national trend of fewer live births equates to a downward enrollment in K-12 schools which will mean that the number of U.S. high school graduates will peak in 2025, and then start a decline that could last as long as 2037. This will greatly disrupt how colleges operate and plan for future budgets.

What will be the long-term impact of a decline in college degrees among Generation Zers? I predict two social trends will fill the void to address this:

  1. We will see an increasing number of students enter the trades. This move started before the pandemic, as I reported in this 2019 MultiBriefs Exclusive.
  2. We will see an increasing number of employers embed on-the-job training, licensure programs, and tuition reimbursement so that they can hire students directly from high school without formal college degrees.
  3. High schools will continue to fill the gap of providing students with entry-level college coursework through dual enrollment and industry-certification programming, subsidized by states and other organizations.

For years, we as educators conditioned our graduating seniors to believe that the logical next step to high school was a college degree. Will the pandemic disrupt this? I believe it will, but the scale of the disruption won’t be felt fully for several years to come.

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Is telemedicine for dentists?

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Telemedicine allows healthcare professionals to connect with patients remotely. Advancements in electronic information and telecommunication technologies have fostered the rapid adoption of telemedicine in the past decade. According to Doctor.com’s report on healthcare trends in 2020, telemedicine adoption increased by 33% over the previous year, and telemedicine funding is expected to reach $185.6 billion by 2026.

COVID-19 has been a major catalyst for telemedicine adoption. In response to lockdowns and closures, clinicians adjusted their practices to offer treatment in a pandemic-safe manner, and many implemented telemedicine technology. This resulted in a sizable population of patients becoming familiar with telemedicine. In fact, Medical Economics found that 83% of patients expect to use telemedicine after the pandemic resolves.

However, for dental practices, telemedicine adoption continues to lag behind other medical fields. What is the cause of this?

In this article, we offer an overview of teledentistry, telemedicine for dentists. We discuss the primary benefits of teledentistry, and cover some of the pain points inhibiting its growth.

What is Teledentistry?

Teledentistry is the use of telecommunication technology to allow long-distance dental care, consultation, education, and public awareness. In general, there are two types of teledentistry.

Synchronous teledentistry refers to the real-time interaction between patient and dentist through the use of video conferencing tools (i.e., Evaluating patients through a videoconferencing tool, like Zoom).

Asynchronous teledentistry refers to the non-direct interaction between patient and dentist through the transfer of recorded health information (i.e., Sharing videos and radiographs through a HIPAA-compliant messaging service).

Teledentistry Benefits

Teledentistry offers various benefits for dental practices and patients. Some of the most important benefits are showcased below.

Increased safety

Teledentistry allows dentists to interact with patients in different physical locations. Teledentistry has proven itself to be a valuable tool for evaluating patients prior to in-person care and prescribing medication during post-operative evaluations.

Additional income

Teledentistry appointments are billable! Many insurance companies accept claim submissions for services rendered using telecommunication technology. Typically, CDT codes D9995 and D9996 are primarily used for these types of claims.

Obstacles of Teledentistry

Like we mentioned above, implementation of telemedicine has been slower in dentistry than other medical fields. Below, we cover the biggest obstacles for teledentistry adoption.

In-person care is often necessary

Some medical fields lend themselves better to telemedicine than others. For example, many mental health providers are able to effectively offer care through videoconferencing. Conversely, the most common dental procedures, ranging from teeth whitening to surgeries, rely on in-person care.

Additionally, the ability to implement teledentistry often depends on the type of treatment a dental practice provides. For example, orthodontic evaluations are much easier to do through videoconferencing than periodontal examinations.

Teledentistry implementation can be daunting

Using unfamiliar tech for video conferencing and sharing files can be overwhelming for many dental professionals. Additionally, many dentists are concerned with this teledentistry’s compliance with regulations. HIPAA-compliant telemedicine solutions, like Simplifeye, accelerate the implementation process, and make it easy to conduct remote dental appointments.

Bottom Line

COVID-19 accelerated the implementation of teledentistry in many dental practices nationwide. However, telemedicine adoption in dental practices has not kept up with other medical fields. The likely culprit is dentistry’s reliance on in-person care, which renders teledentistry useless for the common dental procedures.

However, teledentistry can be valuable for specific use cases. Teledentistry is an effective tool for evaluating patients remotely and prescribing medicine. Additionally, teledentistry adds an extra stream of revenue for dental practices. If you decide to implement teledentistry in your dental practice, there are several dental technology solutions, like NexHealth, that can accelerate implementation and management.

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Costa Rica slowly opens to US travelers

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Costa Rica intends to allow all U.S. residents to visit the country as of Nov. 1. This move marks a radical departure from its policy of partial openings that started in the beginning of September. That allowed visitors from limited U.S. states to enter the country. The list later grew to 20 states and territories in recent weeks as conditions changed. Although waves of spikes continue to ripple through various U.S. states, Costa Rica still remains on target to uphold the November date.

Costa Rica currently remains the only country to allow Americans entry depending on their state of origin.

But there are still hurdles for those who want to head to the pristine rainforests and soft white beaches of this Central American tourism mecca, although officials only recently removed a requirement that visitors present a negative RT-PCR test result.

“As of October 26, all local and foreign passengers who entered Costa Rica by air must not present a RT-CPCR diagnostic test with a negative result,” the Costa Rica Tourist Board noted in a website update.

But there remains in place a provision called the “Health Pass,” a digital epidemiological form all visitors must complete. In the event of having to quarantine or accrue medical expenses during a stay, visitors will have to purchase travel insurance covering accommodations and any medical services. Policies can be purchased from an international company or bought in Costa Rica.

As of September, all hotels throughout the Costa Rica have been allowed to operate at 100% capacity, although common areas, like restaurants, gyms and swimming pools, operate at only 50% capacity.

Costa Rica’s opening to international tourism will continue to be responsible, careful and gradual, and will go hand-in-hand with the promotion of local tourism.

“I reiterate the call for joint responsibility to protect people’s health, and at the same time, the jobs that we hope to recover. If we all adhere to the protocols, the measures will be sustainable over time,” said Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura.

For those U.S. citizens flying in privately, private flights from the United States are now allowed to enter, but under the same requirements as described apply. Private yachts are also able to enter with the mitigating requirements. It is not clear if maritime passengers will need to bring a negative PCR test with them and whether, if they set sail from a city or country that has not been authorized, they will receive a quarantine health order. If so, the days they have been at sea will be deducted from the last sailing recorded in the yacht’s log. Top harbors for entry into Costa Rica are in Golfito, Los Sueños, Pez Vela, Banana Bay and Papagayo.

Costa Rica closed its borders to foreigners in March but reopened in August for visitors from the European Union, the United Kingdom and Canada. Asian countries, Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay were added the list in the ensuing weeks.

U.S. citizens began arriving in September from the cleared states of Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont and Virginia, plus the District of Columbia. On Sept. 15, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington and Wyoming travelers joined the crowds, and as of Oct. 1, California and Ohio gained visitation privileges.

As of early October, American Airlines announced its preflight coronavirus (COVID-19) testing program for customers traveling to international destinations and Hawaii. The initial launch, scheduled for Oct. 15 for passengers traveling from the airline’s hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Hawaii, will now also include passengers traveling to Costa Rica.

The airline plans to launch a testing program at its Miami International Airport (MIA) hub for passengers traveling to Jamaica, the Bahamas and Costa Rica as well. American is also working with CARICOM, an integrated grouping of 20 Caribbean countries, to expand the program to additional markets in the region.

The preflight testing program at DFW for travel to Costa Rica is in partnership with LetsGetChecked and CareNow. But customers will be responsible for testing costs.

American is offering three options for preflight testing to customers with flights from DFW to Costa Rica:

  • At-home test from LetsGetChecked, observed by a medical professional via virtual visit, with results expected in 48 hours on average.
  • In-person testing at a CareNow urgent care location.
  • On-site rapid testing, administered by CareNow, at DFW.

Customers traveling from MIA to Costa Rica will initially have one option for preflight testing, with more options becoming available after the program launches at the hub. That is the at-home test from LetsGetChecked, with results expected in 48 hours on average.

Testing must be completed within 72 hours of the final leg of departure and tourists who test negative will be exempt from the country’s 14-day quarantine. Negative test results must be uploaded to the country’s Health Pass.

American resumed its operation in Costa Rica in September with service from its DFW and MIA hubs to San Jose (SJO). In early October, the airline resumed service to Liberia (LIR) from DFW and MIA, and now operates a total of 19 weekly flights to the country.

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Hawaii inches toward opening for tourism

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Traveling to Hawaii has never been tougher. The Aloha State, which saw visitor numbers nearing 10.5 million in 2019 has seen visitation decrease by some 50% this year so far. In May alone, that dip was down 98.9%. That number came to 9,116 visitors, and they traveled to Hawaii by air. That figure compared to 841,376 total visitors that entered by air and cruise ships during the same month a year ago.

On the upside, a new pre-travel testing program recently began in October that will allow visitors in Hawaii who test negative for COVID-19 to avoid the two weeks of mandatory quarantine Hawaii has had in place since the pandemic began.

Air Care

Hawaiian Airlines is now offering travelers visiting or returning to the Hawaiian Islands from the U.S. mainland a pre-travel COVID-19 test they can take from the comfort of their home to qualify to be exempt from the state of Hawai’i quarantine.

The tests can order the $150 mail-in saliva test online through Vault Health. The test kit, which is available for travelers of all ages including children, will be express mailed overnight to travelers who will self-collect their sample with assistance from a testing supervisor in a video call. The kit is express shipped overnight to Vault’s lab, which will process and analyze the sample and provide travelers their results electronically within 24 hours.

Travelers with a negative COVID-19 test taken at a state-approved testing facility within 72 hours of departure will be exempt from Hawaii’s 14-day quarantine upon arrival.

Hawaiian Airline’s new at-home COVID-19 test option adds to the carrier’s partnership with Worksite Labs that will provide guests exclusive access to drive-through PCR testing ($90 for results within 36 hours, or $150 for day-of-travel express service) from dedicated, conveniently located labs near Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) international airports, with more testing locations coming soon to its other U.S. mainland gateways.

Hawaiian’s comprehensive health and safety program covers all aspects of the travel journey, starting at check-in, when guests must complete a health acknowledgment form indicating they are free of COVID-19 symptoms and will wear an adequate face mask or covering at the airport and during the flight.

Hawaiian’s enhanced cleaning includes frequent disinfecting of lobby areas, kiosks, and ticket counters, electrostatic aircraft cabin spraying, plexiglass barriers at staffed airport counters, and sanitizer wipe distribution to all guests. The carrier, which has been operating a reduced schedule since March and will continue to cap cabin capacity at 70% through Dec. 15 to allow for onboard distancing.

Hawaii Hotels Step Up

Through this jigsaw profile, some hotels and resorts are taking matters into their own hands and reopening now in anticipation of official opening announcements by the governor. One of those resorts is the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, which will be welcoming guests back on November 20.

The resort’s new Safe on Maui program is in place to ensure a comfortable and healthy environment for guests as they travel and through the duration of their stay. Along with state mandated negative test results, Four Seasons requires guests to present proof of a negative result upon arrival at the hotel as well.

“There’s no question that, right now, our guests’ and employees’ biggest concern is safety. So we focused efforts on reimagining safer travel that will both help protect our guests and, ultimately, our employees as well,” says General Manager Marc Bromley. “Our guests will enjoy the resort with the assurance that Four Seasons Maui has gone above and beyond.”

Meanwhile, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Kona is embarking on a resort-wide renovation with plans to open up again on December 1. The multi-million dollar enhancement program will update almost every aspect of the Resort, further enhancing the guest experience while maintaining the distinct, authentic character of the Resort.

All rooms and suites in the Resort will be extensively renovated with updated finishes and furnishings. A new bungalow consisting of six oceanfront guest rooms, including a suite with a private pool, will be constructed adjacent to Kumukea Beach on the Resort’s northern edge, providing excellent views from its ocean front location.

The top three villas at the Resort — Hawaii Loa, Makaloa and Ho’onanea — will each be expanded to add a second story and unique design elements as they vie to become the largest and most luxurious villa room product in Hawaii.

Amenities across the property will be updated. King’s Pond, Hualalai’s 1.8 million-gallon swimmable aquarium, will receive a dramatic update with the addition of a new elevated swimming pool, lounge deck, and Marine Activity Center. Seashell Pool, the Resort’s family-friendly pool, will receive new tiling and finishes to complement the updated poolside furniture and umbrellas added in 2019. A dedicated Culinary Academy will also be added upstairs of ULU Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge, hosting a plethora of interactive culinary experiences and guest chefs.

The entire golf experience is also receiving considerable attention. Hualalai recently announced a new addition to its award-winning golf program, the Hualalai Golf Hale. This 3,000-square-foot instruction and practice facility will be the ultimate destination for golf enthusiasts of all ages.

Beyond the Beach

As for activities and attractions, Blue Hawaiian Helicopters reopened in mid-October at its base on Maui. It is the only helicopter tour company serving all four major islands, and will be reopening additional bases on the Big Island and Kauai in November, followed by Oahu.

Visitors to Maui will have the option to choose from its two top selling scenic tours: Maui Spectacular and the Waterfalls of West Maui & Molokai. A maximum of six guests may join each tour.

To safely accommodate those customers, guests will be required to undergo non-contact infrared temperature checks, practice proper social distancing from other guests outside their personal group and maintain proper health and hygiene with hand sanitizer and hand washing stations throughout. Masks for employees and guests will also be mandated at all times upon arrival to the base and throughout the tour aboard the helicopter. Only one tour group (maximum of six guests) can enter the base at any given time. Extensive cleaning procedures are in place for cleaning bases and craft at the beginning of each day, every hour and at the end of the day.

Travelers can find the latest State of Hawaii guidelines, which continue to evolve, here.

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