KSM kindergarten kumu Cathy Honda leads a line of her haumāna to the cafeteria for outdoor snack time. Kumu reinforce social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing throughout the day.
For Cathy Honda, kindegarten kumu at Kamehameha Schools Maui, starting school under the campus’ new hybrid learning model was a welcomed shift from virtual teaching.
“Having them back makes it easier because we can do more with them,” Honda said, as her haumāna mingle – socially distanced – during an outdoor snack time. Wearing Minnie Mouse ears, Honda points to the many interpersonal advantages of face-to-face teaching. “We can do activities and crafts with them. We can move them at different paces according to what they need.”
Honda is among dozens of kumu now teaching under Mauiʻs hybrid learning plan, Ka Hoʻi I Ke Kula. The plan was developed to gradually and systematically bring haumāna back to campus on a part-time basis.
For elementary and middle schools haumāna, this looks like one group of students coming back, while other groups from the grade level continue with distance learning. For high school students, a whole grade level will occupy the campus two days at a time. These measures help keep class sizes small, following State Department of Health guidelines.
KSM Po‘o Kula Dr. Scott Parker said leadership relied on both internal and external COVID-19 data to develop Ka Hoʻi I Ke Kula.
“I’m glad that we’ve gotten to this point as a community on Maui that we can bring our kids back,” he said. “Hopefully we get to a place where hybird evolves into robust face-to-face at some point. Thatʻs the ultimate goal.”
Kumu recognized that with students back on campus, healthy behaviors needed to be modeled and reinforced. High school Hawaiian language kumu Lōkahi Antonio and other teachers, implemented Lāhui Kapu, a cultural approach to safety protocols on campus.
Antonio, along with kumu Henohea Kāne and Kahu Kalani Wong, hold half-hour sessions with students in which the kapu is introduced.
“It’s not a kapu to fear, it’s a kapu to embrace,” Antonio said. “By wearing my mask and keeping my distance, I show aloha for my friends.”
A range of safety measures are in place on campus, including a daily wellness check-in, a thermal scan upon arrival, mask wearing, social distancing, and frequent disinfecting and cleaning.
High school world history kumu Kevin O’Brien said he’s noticed haumāna trying their best to follow the kapu, including keeping their masks on and maintaining their distance. He’s happy that students are back on campus, albiet in smaller groups.
“Distance learning has been challenging. It’s difficult to teach to a little box on your Zoom screen as compared to face-to-face, obviously,” O’Brien said.
Some students thrive in distance learning. But others need a more traditional classroom environment, he noted.
“I just do better when I’m in the classroom. Some kids, they need to be here. The interpersonal stuff is super important for them at this part of their lives,” he said.
Kumu Nālani Hoewaʻa teaches a hula class of sixth graders while keeping them socially distanced. Sixth graders are split into two groups. While one group attends class on campus, the other group continues distance learning.
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