Kohala Adventist School is blessed to be among the private schools able to open for face-to-face learning. Opening August 3rd, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, presented many challenges. Significant thought went into doing all we could to ensure safety. Social distancing signage on walls and floors, mask policies, desk spacing, cleaning protocols, and handwashing measures were all considered. Our decision to open was based on a desire to serve the community and to continue to share God’s love. With our small school size and ample space, Kohala Adventist School was uniquely equipped to do just that.
As a teacher, my desire is to inspire my students to have the greatest impact for good they can. Teaching face to face makes that job so much easier. Every day I tell my students how thankful I am to be learning in school with them.
The outpouring of gratitude from students and parents makes the privilege of teaching face to face during these unusual times that much sweeter. Here’s a sampling of our student voices, sharing what in-person learning means to them:
I love the kids at school. It’s way funner. I feel sad for the kids at home [distance learning]. They don’t get to go outside, and they always have to work and never get to go out and play with friends. Graham, 1st grade
It’s great learning face to face because we are not far away from each other and we can stick together. At home we don’t have reading buddies, singing time, or P.E. I like that we get to learn together. Ethan, 2nd grade
I like coming to school because I get to see my friends. It’s easier to learn here at school. I don’t like waking up super early though. I would miss the playground if I had to learn at home. Jordan, 2nd grade
I think when you’re distance learning you don’t show as much respect to your mom as you would to a teacher. I didn’t like distance learning because sitting on the computer for two hours gives me headaches. I also like being at school to play and do sports. Ben, 4th grade
I like going to school face to face, because it’s easier to learn and concentrate at school. I get to see my friends, and I’m not stuck at home all day. Hannah, 6th grade
Learning on computers was hard and you didn’t really learn that much. Coming back to school I’ve learned a lot. I got to make new friends and see my old friends too. Leonard, 7th grade
At home it felt lonely, and I missed my friends. It is a blessing to be able to come in person and to be more productive. Faith, 8th grade
Face-to-face school makes it easier to learn. It helps me focus better, and it makes it so I have something to get up in the morning to do. It’s nice to see friends here. Owen, 8th grade
A common theme for parents was that their children benefit from socializing with their peers. In addition, many parents are grateful they can continue to work and don’t need to find child supervision or balance working from home and helping their child learn. Here are some comments from KOA parents:
• Face-to-face learning allows our child to learn how to interact with other kids. It also helps to develop his skills. Learning in groups allows students to share their creative ideas and knowledge.
• Our daughter is very social and loves being with others. We are grateful she has been able to attend KOA school. We have seen academic growth and personal development in many areas since the start of the school year.
• Our family feels incredibly blessed that our three boys have been able to attend school, even in the midst of a pandemic. We have all been able to return to a sense of normalcy, continuing with our learning and working.
• As an only child, my son has particularly benefited from attending in-person school. Being able to make and maintain friendships is foundational to our human and Christian experience.
• Every child learns differently. This is why face-to-face instruction is so important. They can see and learn, have hands-on opportunities, and ask questions then and there.
The vital role school plays in our communities has been felt like never before. At Kohala Adventist School, we praise God for the opportunity to serve in this capacity.
By Jackie Lee Millar