KSM prepares for possible shutdown due to coronavirus


Photo by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website

According to The CDC, “The CDC is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Cases of COVID-19 also are being reported in a growing number of countries internationally, including the United States. There are ongoing investigations to learn more.”

Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and face masks, they’re just about on everyone’s minds right now. Likewise, KS Maui is preparing for the possibility of closing for two weeks after spring break. With the threat of the new coronavirus disease increasing, that possibility is starting to look much like a reality.

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Within just this week, almost all major sports leagues, such as the NBA and MLB, have suspended their activities. Many colleges have gone to taking classes online. Events such as March Madness, the Merrie Monarch Festival, and the Coachella Music and Arts Festival have all been canceled.

Dr. Scott Parker, KSM headmaster, announced in an email earlier today that the “Hawaiʻi High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) in conjunction with its member leagues –  the Big Island Interscholastic Federation (BIIF), Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH), Kauai Interscholastic Federation (KIF), Maui Interscholastic League (MIL), and the Oʻahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) –  announced that effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all interscholastic competition will be suspended indefinitely based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat.”

It’s a shame that they won’t be able to display what they’re capable of.

— Maximus Paschoal

Co-captain of the golf team, junior Maximus Paschoal said, “Everyone was really looking forward to individuals in golf, where we had trained with teammates for over a month. The freshmen playing golf this year had shown a lot of natural talent, and it’s a shame that they won’t be able to display what they’re capable of.”

The discussions over a possible school closure after Spring Break, which began after school today, bear in mind that students and teachers might travel during this time, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19 upon their return.

The two week closure is to ensure that if someone were to catch the coronavirus, the two-week incubation period would be enough time for a diagnosis.

KSM will also require students to stay home for 14 days per CDC guidelines upon return from personal travel to Level 3 areas, both international and domestic, and to self-monitor after return from Level 2 areas, which includes the U.S.

“If there is an outbreak in the state of Hawaiʻi, the decision may be to close the campus, but students will be able to attend school through the use of their computers and with technology,” vice principal Mr. Leo Delatori said.

Teachers have already prepared a two-week digital learning plan for each of their classes in the event the school is closed. They were notified to start planning their learning plan at the beginning of this and week and to turn it in by the end of today.

Weʻre lucky because we have laptops and technology.

— Mr. Delatori

“Once we learned about the severity of what may happen and the need to contain the virus, schools across the country and Hawai’i began to institute this process. For us, weʻre lucky because we have laptops and technology, where for other schools, it may be more difficult to plan things,” Mr. Delatori said.

The learning plan will utilize tools like Microsoft Teams for video conferences, and Google Classroom for assignments.

“With this [learning plan] we will still be able to have school, and we will able to make sure that students are able get all of the necessary school days they need, and to meet the requirements,” Mr. Delatori said.

Junior Logan English when asked about how he felt said, “I think it’s unfortunate we have to resort to that [learning plan], but I understand we need to prioritize the health of our students. I think it is a good thing that we prioritize the health of the students.”

Students however, still remain divided on the issue.

“I think that it will be harder learning because you aren’t psychically there in the class. I personally learn better in a class setting,”  Junior Chasen Webb said.

The school closure is not at all definite, and school officials are following developments closely in order to make the final decision at the end of Spring Break.

To help with the possible transition into digital delivery of lessons, the school calendar has been modified. The teacher in-service day scheduled for April 17, has been moved to March 23, the first day back to school after the break. This will be a no-student day that teachers will be able to use to plan their upcoming lessons. Whether they deliver those lessons in person or digitally beginning on the 24th remains to be seen.

Update Tuesday, March 17: KS Maui campus closed for in-person instruction from March 23, transitioning our educational programming to our Distance Learning Plan. Spring break has been extended till March 26.