(BIVN) – On Tuesday, the Hawaiʻi Department of Education announced public schools statewide will be going to full distance learning to start the school year. But students attending Parker School in Waimea have already experienced their first day back in the classroom.
Parker School shared some photos taken during its first day of school in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The school also shared this news release:
Parker School welcomed students back to campus on Monday, August 10 for the first time since March 13 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. More than 295 students are enrolled in grades K-12 for the School’s 45th academic year.
For the first week of school, students have been divided into smaller cohorts to help ease students, faculty, and parents into the school year with an intentional and low stress introduction to new campus safety protocols and the different instructional scenarios that might be called upon during the pandemic.
“Everyone is eager to return to campus to continue learning in this beautiful community,” says new Head of School, Stephen Dunn. “Students and faculty are so careful to keep our collective safety in mind as we navigate campus, classrooms and conversations. I am encouraged by the respect that they are paying to each other. We know that being on campus provides the best educational environment, so we are fortunate to bring everyone back to start the school year,” shared Dunn.
New safety protocols include daily health screenings, additional custodial staff to increase frequency of cleaning, additional hand washing stations installed around campus, as well as new desks and desk arrangements that create the 3 to 6 feet physical distancing as endorsed by the State of Hawai’i Department of Health.
Additionally, lower school classes will remain in “cohort bubbles” by grade to minimize the number of individuals with whom students are in contact with throughout the school day. In the middle and upper school, classes have been balanced to just 16 students or less to enhance safety.
Parents and students were given the option to attend remotely. For the approximately nine percent of students who chose this option, they will participate in classes at scheduled times via remote technology, including cameras, microphones, speakers, that has been added to every classroom coupled with learning management through Google Classroom for middle and upper school, to create a consistent and predictable learning experience.
“Families are always looking for a safe educational environment for their children, but more so during this pandemic,” says Parker Admissions Director, Makela Bruno-Kidani. “We are very fortunate to have a spacious campus with faculty and staff dedicated and committed to the health and safety of our students and entire school community. It is an immensely challenging year for educators and families worldwide and I have deep respect for all schools and communities faced with the challenge of keeping everyone safe. Our small school setting allows our ‘ohana to work this out together.”