We are just a few days away from starting our new 2020-2021 academic school year! I want to take a minute to welcome back our returning students and welcome our new ones! We are so excited to have you join our Little Hoku family! 

It is slightly different than last year…Ok, to be fair, it is SIGNIFICANTLY different than last year! So many of us are worried and anxious one way or another. Parents are ready to let the kids go back to school, but struggle because they are asking themselves if it is the right decision. Should we all stay at home? Should we let the kids go back to school? That magical question that each family will have to answer for themselves!

This post is not intended in helping you make this decision. I am writing to say that each one of us should do the best we can to protect our Kupuna, Keiki, Ohana, and the community. By going back to school we naturally accept a higher risk of contracting various contagious illnesses, whether it is COVID-19, the flu, or a simple cold. The low coronavirus infection numbers on Maui give me some sense of safety, but the most important factor in your decision-making is your family dynamic and what works for you and makes you feel most safe. At Little Hoku, all we can provide is a promise to keep everyone safe to the best of our abilities during the academic school year.

How Families Can Partner With Little Hoku

So we ask that we support each other during these times. How? We are asking our families to follow our strict travel and health policies. For example, do not use medication to bring your child’s temperature down. You might think it is nothing serious. And you might find it very difficult to keep your child home for two weeks because they are ill. But pause for a moment. Think about other families, teachers, and, grandparents. You can be saving lives by keeping your child home because of a simple cough or a slightly runny nose. Staying home for a short time may be inconvenient, but think about the school closing for a month, a year, or more. HELP us HELP you.

Be sure to review all our new policies regarding travel, health, and other school-related areas.

What Little Hoku Is Doing to Keep Everyone Safe

You may also be wondering what we are doing to ensure everyone’s safety beyond creating these policies.

  • We have modified our illness policy and placed some travel restrictions in place.
  • We have changed our drop off and pick up procedures. This is communicated to the families and posted at the school.
    • All adults must wear masks and follow 6 feet distancing at drop off and pick up. 
  • We have transitioned to an electronic sign-in process in order to eliminate any cross-contamination by touching a sign-in screen.
  • Students will have a health assessment every morning—a questionnaire that must be answered every morning at drop off.
  • We will be using a no-touch infrared thermometer to make that process easier and minimize contact.
  • After drop off, students will wash their hands and then go into the classroom. No-touch soap dispensers are provided.
  • High touch surfaces are sanitized frequently and the school is cleaned and sanitized thoroughly by EPA registered cleaning materials daily.
  • If a child becomes sick at school, the child will be removed from the classroom and isolated in the large room by the entrance immediately, which we have designated as our “sick room.”
    • A mask will be placed over the child’s nose and mouth.
    • The child will wait in that room with an adult until the parent arrives to pick up.
    • The classroom will be disinfected after the child leaves and the sick room will be disinfected after pickup.
  • We will constantly remind children to wash their hands. This will be after they arrive at the school; before coming in contact with any child; before and after eating; after sneezing, coughing or nose blowing; after using the restroom; before handling food, and if they look visually dirty.
  • During the coronavirus pandemic, guests, enrichment classes, special events, and field trips are canceled.

We also invite you to review our COVID-19 Policies for more information.

Preparing For Your First Week At School and for the 2020-2021 Academic School Year

While it may feel overwhelming we promise to do our best so our daily school routine feels as normal as possible to our children. They will be excited and happy to be back. We should let them. We will be implementing these new rules that will come to them in a playful way. Most of these procedures are imposing major restrictions on adults while keeping the school environment as normal as possible.

And so we ask you for some help! Please be patient at drop off. Please plan for staying home when your child or anyone in the household is sick. Please restrict your travels or visitors and plan for 14 days quarantine if you decide to do so.

It is very important to prepare your child for the first day of school. Review our 2020-2021 Parent Handbook and make sure you have everything needed for your child’s first day (page 6 of Parent Handbook). Review our tips on parent’s handbook on how to prepare them for an easy transition.

I cannot wait to see all those happy faces soon. I wish us all a great and fun year full of happiness and health.

Dr. Shadi Naderi
Owner and Head of School
Little Hoku Montessori Academy