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Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School goes remote

PUHI — Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School will transition to fully-remote learning until next week.

The move is due to a growing number of students, teachers and staff affected by COVID-19 isolation and quarantine requirements, according to a letter sent to parents Monday afternoon.

“Please know this decision was not made lightly,” the letter signed by Principal Jean Morris reads. “If anything changes, families will be notified as soon as possible.”

CKMS appears to be the only Kaua‘i school affected at press time (the office of state Department of Education Complex Area Superintendent Paul Zina could not be reached on Monday, a federal, state and county holiday).

Last week, Zina announced schools would shift to remote learning on a class-by-class and school-by-school basis, “to keep as many classrooms in person as possible.”

His Jan. 12 message also noted middle and high schools would be less likely to shift single classes to online learning than elementary schools, as individual students have multiple teachers.

Sarah Tochiki, a music teacher at CKMS and vice president of the Hawai‘i State Teachers Association’s Kaua‘i chapter, confirmed the school’s closure when contacted by The Garden Island.

“I’m not a fan of virtual online school because, being a hands-on class, I understand and I know what’s best for our students is for them to be in school,” Tochiki said.

However, she hopes the one-week pause on in-person learning will pan out in the long run.

“If we can flatten the curve, have everybody get better … and allow the virus to settle, then we can go back to teaching all the students in person. That’s a better option,” Tochiki said. “It’s not ideal, but it has to become that way for us to be able to teach and reach all students.”

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Scott Yunker, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or syunker@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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