Transitions are difficult under any circumstance, and the one confronting the state Department of Education as the pandemic slowly recedes will be more difficult than ever.

On Aug. 3, students will return to in-person instruction in every public school. Most of them are hungry for the social interaction they’ve missed in the past year-and-a-half of their academic life, many of them also struggling to overcome a crippling learning loss.

However, just as clearly, this is the direction public schools should take, for the medium and long term, and going beyond the accommodations principals may make for families in special cases. David Miyashiro, executive director for the advocacy organization HawaiiKidsCAN, rightly underscored for the state school board June 3 that DOE plans should include that component.

“We believe a centralized public option for distance learning is incredibly important in this period of transition,” Miyashiro said. “While in-person instruction is best for most students, a quality centralized distance option would be both cost-effective and responsive to family needs.”

Read the full editorial here.


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