HONOLULU(KHON2) — Tuesday marked the first day back to class for thousands of students after two weeks off for the holidays.
King Kalakaua Middle School Teacher Richard Toynton said he was surprised at how well the first day back was going.
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“Everything’s kind of running smoothly as it normally does,” Toynton said. “I was expecting a little bit more fear in the community, maybe families keeping their kids home more.”
According to Toynton, eight kids were absent from his first two classes which he says is a little more than normal.
Cases reported by the Hawaii Department of Education (HDOE) have gone up, mirroring the uptick in cases across the state
HDOE reports 83 cases among students and faculty Sunday and Monday alone.
It may be causing some issues.
“We’ve been hearing from a couple of schools that they already have some staffing shortages,” said Hawaii State Teachers Association President Osa Tui.
In a statement, an HDOE spokesperson said: “Schools are closely monitoring attendance and staffing to respond to any potential issues quickly.”
McKinley High School Principal Ron Okamura said it was a trying but that it ended well.
“We have a few staff members all who are being quarantined right now, but it’s nothing that interrupted our operation,” Okamura said. “So in that sense, we were pretty okay.”
While some are apprehensive about in-person learning due to the surge, others like Marc Carreira, was eager for his two kids to get back to it.
“My kids are really excited to go back to school today,” Carreira explained. “We didn’t even consider distance learning. The kids need to be in school.”
Kalani High school teacher Brooke Nasser feels confident current guidelines are sufficient.
“I had two students in my classroom get COVID last quarter, and there was no spread from them to other students in my class,” she explained
Some private schools, like Saint Louis are shifting back to distance learning temporarily when they resume class Wednesday according to Principal Devin Oshiro
“Just to allow that space after New Year’s, for students to get tested to feel better, um, we decided to go online just for the three days,” Oshiro said.
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Oshiro said they expect to resume in person classes Monday but will gauge what happens this week. He added that families can opt to continue online for the quarter if they prefer.