First day opening

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kumu’s Cupboard volunteer Fay Bartels greets educator shoppers from the outside registration area, Monday during the opening of Kumu’s Cupboard at the Kukui Grove Center.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Robin Wong, a teacher at Kaua‘i High School, tries to juggle her glasses with the protective face shield, Monday during the opening of Kumu’s Cupboard at the Kukui Grove Center.

LIHU‘E — Robin Wong, a teacher at Kaua‘i High School, said shopping was made more challenging, Monday because she had no idea of how the classroom is going to be like when school starts, her first day in the classroom being Aug. 3, according to the state Department of Education academic calendar.

“I just keep walking around trying to imagine what it’s going to be like and get some ideas,” Wong said. “It’s not easy.”

Wong was one of the teacher shoppers who visited Kumu’s Cupboard on the first day of its opening since being closed in March when the novel coronavirus closed the school classrooms, sending the teachers to lead distance learning programs.

“We had a rush this morning,” said Elyse Litvack, the Kumu’s Cupboard co-founder and director. “We opened to COVID-19 guidelines and there was a line waiting outside the door. We actually had to limit just five people at a time, and limit shopping to just 30 minutes per person. It slowed down a bit so people have more time to shop.”

More COVID-19 guidelines are in effect as shoppers — educators from Kaua‘i’s public, private, and charter schools — are greeted by an outside registration area where sanitizers are available for cleaning before entering the store where face masks and social distancing are required.

“We just got delivery of face shields, this morning,” Litvack said. “They came in just in time for the opening. We also received some donations so we could get more supplies for our teachers.”

Kumu’s Cupboard, described as a resource center providing free school supplies to teachers and other educational staff from community contributions, will be open daily through July 30 before resuming its normal operating hours starting July 31.

The resource center will be open to teachers and educational staff from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, and open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. Weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday.

“We had a brand new teacher,” Litvack said. “His fiancée is a teacher, and he moved here to teach. He was thrilled with eight bags of material to equip his first-ever classroom.”

Kumu’s Cupboard also relies on its community contributions for its success in being able to provide free school supplies and resources for Kaua‘i’s teachers and educational staff.

Contributions can be done online at

  1. kimo July 21, 2020 5:08 am Reply

    Reopening school is a gigantic mistake right now. Classrooms, masks or no masks, are petri dishes for viral infections. These kids are more than likely being taken care of after school by elderly grandparents or sitters who are extremely vulnerable. The kids will bring the virus home, and it will kill the people who are taking care of them. You, the parents will be stuck with no one to watch your kids while you go to work, if you kids survive the virus. Many of them aren’t now. The virus has mutated to a strain that has a devastating effect on young people. Think this business over carefully. It’s not a matter of IF but WHEN this monster gets loose on Kauai. Don’t be in denial about what it can do. I’ve been to NY. I’ve seen the body bags piling up. This is nothing to fool around with simply because you need a state sponsored baby sitter while you go to work.

  2. Joe Public July 21, 2020 11:48 am Reply

    Face shield without a mask is useless

  3. mina July 21, 2020 3:50 pm Reply

    Don’t do it. Don’t open those classrooms. Your kids can suffer just as bad from this virus as your kapuna and YOU. Is it really worth rushing the kids back into the classroom to see the people paying your rent and baby sitting your infants ending up in body bags? Oh, you don’t think it will happen? Sweden tried to act like nothing was wrong, and now they’re telling us don’t do it. Their survival rate is only 10%. If you open the schools, you’re opening the door to a monster. Don’t do it.

  4. they do July 22, 2020 5:13 pm Reply

    The face shield protects the wearer from other peoples aerosols but does not protect people from the person wearing the shield. Of course, wearing both a mask and shield is the safest.

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