Catholic schools end year in distance learning

  • Courtesy of St. Theresa School

    Aston Moreno, a Grade 1 student, and Addison Moreno, a Grade 2 student, work on their distance learning projects at home.

  • Courtesy of St. Theresa School

    Preschooler Bernard Kelly shows off his home learning artwork.

LIHU‘E — The St. Catherine School and St. Theresa School will finish the school year with Off Campus Education programs, announced Dr. Mike Rockers, the superintendent of Hawai‘i Catholic Schools during the weekend.

“We love our children,” said David Adams, the St. Catherine School principal. “It is with a heavy heart that we announce that our school district will not be returning to on-campus education in the 2019-2020 school year. This is not the news that any of us had wished for, but we will fully comply with all directives and expectations to support an end to this pandemic.”

Under the directives announced by Rockers, academics are still in place, and attendance is still being taken on a daily basis.

“We are so proud of the hard work being done by our teachers,” Adams said. “They are not just sending out work-work, they are creating programs that keep the students learning. Not only that, they also monitor the students to make sure they’re not being overloaded with work.”

Similar events are taking place at St. Theresa School where principal Wendy Castillo interrupted her phone calls to help a teacher with a Zoom class meeting.

“I’m the only one here,” Castillo said. “The teachers miss not having seeing their students, but they still communicate with Zoom. Maybe, if things improve with COVID-19, the rules will lessen enough to where we could start one-on-one tutoring.”

Attendance since the end of spring break on April 3 has been excellent at both schools.

“We’re at 100 percent,” Castillo said. “The students and parents have been with us from the start.”

Adams said his St. Catherine School participation has also been well-received.

“During the first week, we were in the 90 percent attendance,” he said. “Since then, our attendance has improved to the high 90 percent. Mahalo nui loa to the awesome parents and family members who have supported the learning of our students.”

Adams said St. Catherine is also preparing to clean the schools in preparation for the end of year.

“We will have our dedicated Support Staff start to collect student items from each of the student desks, and bring these items to the appropriate grade level table at Coyle Hall,” Adams said.. “Parents will be notified when these items are ready to be picked up.”

He said the middle school students also have many items in their lockers. Those students will be allowed time to clean out their lockers with the parents being notified when the schedule is complete.

Additionally, Adams said campus adjustments will have the gate to the school being locked between 5 p.m. through 7:15 a.m.

“Coyle Hall will continue to be open from 7:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. on regular school days,” Adams said. “Our hall is considered a public place and we ask anyone over the age of five who enters to please have your face covered and practice safe physical distancing.”

Both the St. Theresa School Carnival, and the St. Catherine School Carnival have been postponed until later in the year.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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