Punahou Health Response

We are eagerly looking forward to welcoming our students, faculty and staff back to campus. At Punahou, we will always place the health and well-being of our community as our highest priority while also recognizing the indelible social and emotional benefits that an on-campus education brings. We are happy to share with you our plans to return to campus, which provide detailed information about what you and your children can expect when school begins on August 19. Further updates will be provided to parents as we near the start of school.

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Return to Campus Plan: July 15, 2020


Message sent to all Punahou Families on July 15, 2020


Return to Athletics Plan: July 15, 2020

Individual athletic practice plans for fall sports can be found on the Athletics home page.


Return to Campus Plan: June 15, 2020

Message from the President's Office

Updated July 15, 2020

Aloha Punahou Families,

With the start of the 2020 – 2021 school year a little more than a month away, we are eagerly looking forward to welcoming our students, faculty and staff back to campus. At Punahou, we will always place the health and well-being of our community as our highest priority while also recognizing the indelible social and emotional benefits that an on-campus education brings.

Over the summer, we have been carefully putting in place the measures to safely and confidently reopen our campus. Today, we are happy to share with you our Return to Campus Update and Return to Athletics Plan, which provide detailed information about what you and your children can expect when school begins on August 19. This is an update to our original Return to Campus Plan that we sent to you on June 15.

Our goal remains to have our students and teachers together safely on campus, because we know that is how students learn best, and to restore our unique sense of community. To accomplish this, we have made unprecedented investments in campus safety measures, reconceived our school day and campus-wide operations, and enlisted the perspectives of parents, teachers, staff, medical experts and fellow school and governmental leaders. The result is an approach that we believe confidently addresses the majority of concerns while maintaining the excellent educational experience that Punahou is known for. It is an approach that can adapt and respond to changing health conditions at any given time. We also recognize that there are those with medical conditions that may require special accommodations, and we will work with these individuals to support their needs.

While many things will necessarily be different when school resumes in August, we will still aim to preserve a creative, innovative and welcoming learning environment for all students and teachers. Our school community will continue to demonstrate our extraordinary adaptability and resilience, just as we have done over the past 180 years.

More than ever, I am deeply grateful to you for entrusting your children to Punahou, and we look forward to welcoming them back to our beautiful campus in a few weeks.

Mahalo,

Michael E. Latham, Ph.D. ’86
President, Punahou School

Pandemic Response Team

Across our School, teachers, staff, parents and students have demonstrated extraordinary resilience in adapting to new and often challenging conditions. As health conditions continue to steadily improve in Hawai‘i and businesses and schools prepare to reopen, we look forward to once again welcoming students, faculty and staff back to our beautiful campus.

Our planning effort has been guided by the thoughtful work of the Pandemic Response Team, a task force composed of faculty and staff representing the entire K – 12 campus:

  • James Kakos, Academy Assistant Principal,
    (Co-Chair)
  • Virginia Loo, Director of Analytics and Planning,
    (Co-Chair)
  • Sarah Neal-Fujimoto, Health Center Supervisor
  • Pauline Bailey, Senior Director of Human Resources
  • Jim LaClair, Chief Information Officer
  • Todd Funasaki, Director of Technology Services
  • Robert Gelber, Director of Communications
  • Tony Tran, Associate Director, Human Resources
  • Cheryl Prather, Associate Director of Communications
  • Charlotte Kamikawa, Director of Physical Plant
  • Jon Koshiba, Academy Dean
  • Denise Hoke, Assistant Treasurer
  • Shige Minami, Infrastructure Technology Director
  • Anna Liem, Academy Academic Services Coordinator
  • Chase Mitsuda, Junior School Assistant Principal
  • Sally Mingarelli, Academy Assistant Principal
  • Todd Chow-Hoy, Junior School Assistant Principal
  • Darryl Funai, Interim Head Athletic Trainer
  • Trisha Caley, Academy Special Terms Director
  • Reet Ashford-Hirano, Academy Dean
  • Andy Nelson, Outdoor Education Coordinator
  • Erika Buder-Nakasone, Executive Assistant, Athletics Department

Past Notices

List of 11 items.

  • June 15, 2020: Return to Campus Plan for Families 2020 – 2021

    Dear Punahou Families,

    I hope this message finds you well. As we look to the start of the new school year, we have been carefully planning for the safe return of students, faculty and staff to our campus. We are eager to see your children again and to continue their educational journey together in person.

    Today, I am happy to share with you our Return to Campus Plan, which provides useful information about what students can expect when school resumes in August. This plan is the result of the work of the Pandemic Response Team, in consultation with School leadership, physicians, state health officials, and other independent schools in Hawai‘i, and I am very grateful to them.

    Our overall goal will be to calibrate our school operations and instruction to the public health conditions present at the time. This will allow Punahou to provide as much on-campus teaching and learning as possible while adapting to changing health conditions.

    While the path the pandemic will take is largely unknown, there is much that we can, and must, do as a community to support each other and ensure a safe campus environment. We all have a role to play in promoting health and safety practices for the benefit of the entire community.

    As we prepare for the fall, we will also provide you with further information. In the coming weeks, we will hold a series of online discussions with Principal McCarren, Principal Priore-Kim and me. Dr. Virginia Loo, Punahou’s Director of Planning and Analytics and formerly an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will also be answering your questions. More information about these sessions will be forthcoming.

    On behalf of all of the teachers and staff at Punahou School, I want to thank you for your continued support of your child’s education. We look forward to welcoming our students, teachers and staff back to campus this fall.

    With aloha,

    Michael E. Latham, Ph.D. ’86
    President, Punahou School
  • June 8: Announcement Sent to Punahou Families

    Dear Punahou Families,

    As businesses and schools prepare to reopen across our state, we are carefully planning to once again welcome our students, faculty and staff back to our beautiful campus. The Parent Survey you recently submitted has been an important tool to help us design a comprehensive Return to School plan, which we will officially share with you on June 15.

    Thank you for providing your honest feedback and allowing us to listen to and learn from your perspectives. The key takeaways from the survey include the following:
    • Nearly 75% of families are either very eager or eager to be back in classrooms when we return to school this fall.
    • A majority of families (>50%) feel optimistic that the pandemic will remain under control.
    • Across the School, 33% of families feel they are only somewhat coping or not coping very well with the COVID-19 situation.
    • Some 30% of families have a household member who is at greater risk for COVID-19 due to age or an underlying health condition.
    • Families have done an incredible job to support their children while learning from home over the last few months; still, about 10% of Academy families and 20% of Junior School families are not confident about their ability to continue to adequately support student learning from home as needed.
    • Nearly half of all families stressed the achievement of learning outcomes or continuity of learning as their top concerns.
    • Across all grade levels, there is also a strong desire to implement effective health and safety measures.
    Your feedback makes two things clear: families want to know that their children are progressing academically while at the same time learning in a campus environment that is as safe as possible. As a school, we couldn’t agree more, and our forthcoming plan will provide the framework for how we plan to achieve both.

    Our planning effort has been guided by the thoughtful work of the Pandemic Response Team, a task force composed of faculty and staff representing the entire K – 12 campus. Among its members are Virginia Loo, Ph.D. ’92, Director of Strategic Planning and a professional epidemiologist formerly with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Sarah Neal-Fujimoto, RN, who oversees the Punahou Health Center. In addition to reviewing your responses, the Pandemic Response Team members have regularly consulted with physicians, state health officials, and other independent schools in Hawai‘i so that we remain fully informed of the latest developments concerning COVID-19. To learn more about the Pandemic Response Team and its members, visit Punahou.edu/health.

    Finally, I know these have been trying times, and I want to extend my deep appreciation for your steadfast commitment to your child’s education. Across the School, our dedicated faculty and staff are redoubling their efforts to prepare for the new school year. We are eager to see your children again, and we look forward to a healthy and successful year ahead.

    Mahalo,

    Michael E. Latham, Ph.D. ’86
    President, Punahou School
  • April 17: Announcement Sent to Punahou Families

    Dear Punahou Families,

    As we navigate this new reality of distance learning together, our School is profoundly grateful for the spirit of collaboration between our students, their families and our dedicated teachers. We understand you have questions about our plans for the remainder of the academic year and Summer School, and we want to take this opportunity to provide you with an update.

    Remainder of Academic School Year

    Punahou will continue with distance learning for the remainder of the current semester, ending on May 28. In addition, all athletics competitions have been suspended through the remainder of the school year, and traditional end-of-year large school gatherings will either be held virtually, when possible, or postponed to later dates.

    We deeply regret that we cannot be together on campus these final weeks of school; however, this decision was required by policy set forth by city and state officials. We also take seriously our own responsibility to promote the health and safety of our community. Every year, the end of the school year is a deeply meaningful time for students, families, teachers and staff, and we understand how disappointing this is for everyone. We thank you for your strength throughout this period and for your continued support of each other.

    Summer School

    Due to the uncertainty surrounding the current health situation; our commitment to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff; and the operational need to make plans now, Punahou has decided the following:
    • Academy Summer Students: For grades 9 – 12, Summer School will be offered in a distance learning format only. The majority of courses that were originally planned for the summer will be converted to a distance learning format, and we will continue to confer academic credit for these courses. The Deans will reach out to any students who are currently enrolled in courses that will not be offered in a distance learning format so that they may find alternate courses. Students who have questions regarding their Summer School plans should also contact their Deans.
    • Junior School Summer Students: For grades K – 8, much of the original Summer School program was designed for hands on, experiential learning. Unfortunately, because of the difficulty in translating this to a distance learning format, we will no longer be able to offer Summer School as originally planned. We recognize the importance of continued connection and learning in the summer, however, and have decided to design, from scratch, a new, online Summer Enrichment Program. This unique program will be offered to Punahou students who are currently in grades K – 7.
    It is our sincerest wish that we didn’t have to take these steps, but based on current conditions we believe it is the right course to take for the health and safety of our community. These steps are also similar to decisions made by fellow independent schools, such as ‘Iolani and Kamehameha, as well as the Department of Education.

    Thank you again for your patience and understanding throughout this period. Our community has never been more united, and we are confident that, together, we will emerge from this experience even stronger.

    Please take care of yourselves and each other.

    Mahalo,

    Michael E. Latham, Ph.D. ’86
    President

    Emily McCarren
    Principal, Academy

    Paris Priore-Kim , ’76
    Principal, Junior School
  • April 17: Athletic Events

  • April 17: Distance Learning

    Punahou announces the following actions:

    Remainder of Academic School Year

    Punahou will continue with distance learning for the remainder of the current semester, ending on May 28. In addition, all athletics competitions have been suspended through the remainder of the school year, and traditional end-of-year large school gatherings will either be held virtually, when possible, or postponed to later dates.

    We deeply regret that we cannot be together on campus these final weeks of school; however, this decision was required by policy set forth by city and state officials. We also take seriously our own responsibility to promote the health and safety of our community. Every year, the end of the school year is a deeply meaningful time for students, families, teachers and staff, and we understand how disappointing this is for everyone. We thank you for your strength throughout this period and for your continued support of each other.

    Summer School

    Due to the uncertainty surrounding the current health situation; our commitment to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff; and the operational need to make plans now, Punahou has decided the following:
    • Academy Summer Students: For grades 9 – 12, Summer School will be offered in a distance learning format only. The majority of courses that were originally planned for the summer will be converted to a distance learning format, and we will continue to confer academic credit for these courses. The Deans will reach out to any students who are currently enrolled in courses that will not be offered in a distance learning format so that they may find alternate courses. Students who have questions regarding their Summer School plans should also contact their Deans.
    • Junior School Summer Students: For grades K – 8, much of the original Summer School program was designed for hands on, experiential learning. Unfortunately, because of the difficulty in translating this to a distance learning format, we will no longer be able to offer Summer School as originally planned. We recognize the importance of continued connection and learning in the summer, however, and have decided to design, from scratch, a new, online Summer Enrichment Program. This unique program will be offered to Punahou students who are currently in grades K – 7.
  • April 1: Distance Learning Update

  • March 19: Coronavirus Update

  • March 17: Distance Learning School Announcement

  • March 13: Athletic Events

  • March 13: Coronavirus Update

  • March 9: Other Ways We Are Keeping Our Community Safe

    Sanitation and Hygiene
    Our dedicated facilities team continues to thoroughly clean classrooms, bathrooms and shared spaces with a focus on doorknobs, light switches, faucets, bathroom spaces, work surfaces, student and teacher desks, classroom tables, keyboards, phones and fitness equipment.

    Signage

    We will be expanding our signage around campus with information about proper hygiene and how to avoid germ transmission.

Important Resources

The following websites provide important information about the spread of this disease along with overseas travel guidelines:

Questions?

If you have any questions or concerns about School policy, please contact: healthresponse@punahou.edu

Support

We are aware that feelings of anxiety can be heightened in situations such as this. The American Psychological Association provides a helpful online guide for how to talk to children about difficult news.

Avoiding Bias

Periods of pandemics are often accompanied by xenophobia and expressions of cultural insensitivity. These run contrary to Punahou’s core values and will not be tolerated in accordance with our school’s Code of Conduct.

The following resources help to dispel common myths and shed light on the ways in which our society might better respond to this outbreak: