Readying for in-person learning April 5

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i’s public elementary schools are making preparations to bring all students back to their campus for daily in-person learning, starting on Apr. 5 to April 9.

“I am very excited that all students will be returning every day,” Wilcox Elementary School’s Principal Corey Nakamura said. “This has always been our goal with health and safety being the priority.”

Wilcox Elementary School will be welcoming all of its students back to school for their 100% face-to-face learning on Friday, April 9.

“We are bringing back all students on this day because we have ordered barriers that will be arriving on April 5,” Nakamura said in a letter addressed to parents on Mar. 23. “We will need time to distribute to classes. And install them in our classrooms and cafeteria to make these areas safe for our students.”

According to Nakamura, his school will have two options which include face-to-face everyday learning for grades K to 5 and online learning A/B rotation.

“We will continue to have four lunch periods,” Nakamura said. “Students will be socially distanced to the extent possible with sneeze guards or plastic barriers to provide an added layer of protection.

To help smooth the transition, Nakamura said there will be staggering pick-up times to help with social distancing the school’s 766 students.

Nakamura said Wilcox Elementary School in Lihu‘e, will be having a virtual informational parent meeting on April 5 starting at 6 p.m. The link for the meeting will be provided on the school’s website prior. A “call out” will be made through the school’s messenger system the night before.

Kekaha Elementary School’s Principal Marilyn Asahi also sent out a letter to parents on Mar. 23, welcoming all of her students back to campus for 100% in-person learning.

“Our priorities remain on health and safety, reaching our most vulnerable students and having a positive impact on our families,” Asahi said.

Asahi said Kekaha Elementary has been able to implement many health and safety strategies and is ready to bring all students back for daily full in-person learning on Monday, Apr. 5.

For Kekaha Elementary, the remaining days will be a Blended A/B rotation until Apr. 1, according to Asahi’s letter. Students who are currently 100% Full Distance and will return to full in person, will be placed in an A/B rotation group by their teacher.

Asahi said strict mask-wearing and cohorting or class “bubbles” will be followed. Students will be required to wear masks inside of the classroom as a 6 feet distancing may not be possible at all times. Students will be required to wear masks outside of the classroom, including morning and lunch recess, at all times. Students will be given “mask breaks” when they are outside of the classroom with at least a 6 feet distance from others.

On Mar. 11, the Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE) said the overall aim is to safely maximize in-person learning opportunities for elementary students for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.

“Because campuses are in various stages of reopening, timing will vary by school,” HIDOE said on their website. “Under the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state Department of Health (DOH) for in-person learning, each school will assess its capacity to adhere to the guidance while conducting various student services such as student transportation, breakfast and lunch provisions, after-school programming, etc. School leaders are committed to ramping up in-person learning safely.”

For more info. check with your student’s school’s website for the fourth quarter updates.

This story has been edited on Mar. 25 at 9:38 a.m. for accuracy.

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Stephanie Shinno, education, reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

3 Comments
  1. leihala March 25, 2021 9:11 am Reply

    Why does the first sentence say secondary schools and then talk about an elementary school?


  2. Susan March 25, 2021 1:49 pm Reply

    I’m sure HSTA is pulling their hair out over this decision: “What? Our one-year paid vacation has come to an end? We have to actually teach again? Nooooooo!”

    Not to worry, teachers: it’s only for one measly month, and then you all get your 2-month paid summer holiday.


  3. vigilauntie March 25, 2021 2:34 pm Reply

    I called the reporter this morning to point out the error– that elementary schools are NOT secondary schools. This was corrected in the article later this morning. I would love to see a good article in the garden island about how often Kauai’s middle and high schoolers will be on campus in April and May (4 or 8 times per MONTH); also Kanuikapono elementary charter school is having some classes with all students on campus, other classes have students on campus just 2-3 times per week, letting the individual teachers (who are vaccinated) decide to open up fully or not. Shame. Poor school leadership.


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