Kaua'i lawmakers share constituent concerns regarding the reopening of public schools
Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Kauai, Niihau) and House Representative James Kunane Tokioka (Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Līhu‘e, Puhi, Old Kōloa Town, ʻŌmaʻo) shared concerns brought to their attention by their constituents with schools Superintendent Cristina Kishimoto regarding the reopening of public schools.
Kaua‘i constituents were primarily concerned about the lack of information provided by the Department of Education relating to statewide teaching protocols, and health and safety policies and procedures that minimally must be followed once schools are reopened on August 4, 2020.
Some of the concerns are:
Spacing in classroom - Even without all students in the classroom, is it possible to keep within the 6 foot by 3 foot guideline? What is being done to ensure there is proper ventilation of the classrooms?
Who would provide oversight for recess/cafeteria supervision?
Online learning training for teachers. Some teachers do not feel that they are prepared and trained to teach online. What would the priority standards be and how would teachers be able to grade report cards?
Conducting appropriate pandemic cleaning and sanitizing without additional staffing.
What is the plan to address absent staffing issues if teachers, custodians and support staff do not show up to work due to fears of the pandemic and insufficient reopening plans?
Is it possible to delay the reopening of schools until minimum statewide safety criteria are developed and met while ensuring our students receive their legally required number of instructional days?
“One thing we all agree on is teachers want to teach and parents want to send their children to school, however, we have to find a way to ensure the safety of all of our students, teachers, staff and ohana,” said Rep. Tokioka.
Senate President Kouchi said, “while we are fortunate that the Kaua‘i Educational Pilot Program provided a jump start on remote instruction, it is imperative to establish and communicate clear minimal statewide policies and procedures to ensure the health and welfare of students, families, faculty and staff.”
According to the state Department of Education, public schools will reopen Aug. 4 with new protocols and a mix of traditional in-school instruction and distance learning in a move to limit the spread of COVID-19.