LIHU‘E — The state Department of Education, Kaua’i Complex Area office announced yesterday in the county’s COVID-19 briefing video, that it will revise school learning models starting the first quarter of the school year 2021 to 2022.
Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Paul Zina said the changes that are being made for the upcoming school year are a response to the current understanding of the pandemic in schools, as well as current guidence from the Centers for Disease Control and the state Department of Health.
“Our priorities are health and safety, reaching all of our students — especially the most vulnerable — and having a positive impact on our families,” Zina said. “We have learned a lot since the start of the pandemic. We have successfully implemented many health and safety strategies. Even during periods of increased infection rates on our island, schools remained some of the safest places in our community.”
According to Zina, to date, there have been no confirmed positive COVID-19 cases due to transmission in Kaua’i public schools.
“We want to keep it that way,” Zina said. “We also recognize the need to keep kids in school as the first option for learning in our community.”
The Fall semester for the school year 2021 to 2022 includes the following program actions for Kaua’i schools:
• Start of daily in-person learning for students in ALL public elementary, middle, and high schools (prekindergarten to 12 grade).
• Strict mask-wearing and cohorting or class “bubbles” primarily in elementary schools and other mitigating measures are still requirements of all schools.
• Social distancing will be implemented to the greatest extent possible.
• Ability to move to distance learning if needed for all schools given pandemic or other emergency proclamations made by federal, state, and or local elected officials and the HIDOE.
• Full distance learning is still an option for middle and high schools.
Zina points out what he will do to protect the community while he encouraged the community to do their part too.
“I will continue to work with school principals to support plans for each school model of instruction, with considerations for community-specific needs,” Zina said. “I’d like to remind students, staff, and families to continue to complete daily wellness checks before reporting to school.”
Zina said he would like to also remind everyone that this daily wellness check guidance, school-specific plans, and schedules can be found on the Kaua’i Public School Launch page at bit.ly/kauaipublicschools.
“The Kaua’i Complex Area Office will continue to work closely with state, county, and DOH officials to assess and respond to any pandemic-related conditions on our island,” Zina said. “Mahalo for staying healthy, safe, and strong as we support our students together.”
Corey Rosenlee, president Hawai‘i State Teachers Association supports the revised models for public schools statewide.
“HSTA has taken the position that schools can bring students back into classrooms as long as it’s safe to do so,” Rosenlee said.
Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.