Distance learning will be available, but parents are still waiting to see what that will look like

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Board of Education voted in favor of offering distance learning for families, but there is still little information about what that will look like.

School begins less than three weeks on August 3, but parents will have to wait at least another week to find out what distance learning options will be available, according to Superintendent Christina Kishimoto.

“Next week we will be uploading by complex area information on each of our distance learning plans for each complex,” she explained.

Teachers worry they will be forced to teach face-to-face and online lessons simultaneously again this year.

“Having to teach students in two different formats simultaneously was hard. It took almost twice as long to get through a lesson than if I only had one modality to teach,” said special education teacher Rebecca Hadley-Schlosser.

The board said they don’t want that either.

Board member Bruce Voss said the resolution does not in any way suggest or require synchronized teaching by classroom teachers both online and students in the classroom.

“That just creates an undue burden on teachers,” Voss explained. “It takes time and attention away from students in the classroom and dilutes student learning, so to the extent that anyone things hybrid learning in this resolution requires that, that is not the case.”

Parents want to make sure there’s actual interaction between the teacher and online students — that a teacher isn’t just uploading assignments for kids to complete.

“Nationally we’ve been asked to focus on in-person learning and have as many students return back as possible and really reopen our schools,” Kishimoto said.

According to Kishimoto, so far the majority of students will resume in-person classes this fall with only 1- to- 5% of families in each area complex expressing interest in distance learning.

“But, again, the challenge is, for every teacher we pull out to do full distance learning, we’re going to impact per-classroom numbers,” Kishimoto explained. “So schools are very carefully balancing these various components.”

“We need to work on making sure there is clarity and that there’s equity for students who are being provided,” Board chairperson Catherine Payne explained.

Payne also suggested the DOE look into federal funds for resources to provide adequate online learning options and hire teachers specifically for distance learning.

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