Brave New (Virtual) World


Owen Agbayani, Reporter

As students of James Campbell High School (JCHS) finished their online classes at around 2:15 PM on the week of September 29th, 2020, they were greeted with a virtual letter from their Campbell-Kapolei Complex Superintendent, Sean Tajima

According to the letter, “All of our [HIDOE] schools in the Campbell-Kapolei Complex Area will continue with their full distance learning (from home) model for the 2nd Quarter.” With those words being read from a digital screen, the hope for in-person instruction at JCHS–at least, for the rest of the first semester–was extinguished. 

The decisions that came with the Hawaii Board of Education’s (BOE) second term of distance learning, were met with a variety of opinions from Hawaii’s communities. One of those individuals is the president of the JCHS partnered Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO), Delia Clark.

Delia Clark shared her organization’s transition to the virtual interface. She said, “During the first quarter of school, we held very small meetings to determine how we [PTSO] wanted to approach being virtual. We kind of waited to see what was going to happen with school.” 

Although the organization fully expected the second term to continue online learning, Clark also mentioned the conflicts that came with these decisions being made in Hawaii’s education.

“You have a high percentage that do not want their child going back to school because they don’t see COVID going away anytime soon. And then you have the other half of parents saying ‘I want my child in school, COVID’s not going away, we just have to move forward.’ It’s very interesting, because you have two groups, and they feel the way they feel,” Clark said.

The JCHS PTSO is an independent nonprofit, and have invited families to their first “Parent Power Hour” on October 28th, 2020, an event that will kick off future engaging activities. With Principal Jon Henry Lee as their guest speaker, they hope to engage and empower parents during a new fresh quarter of distance learning. 

Similar to how parents have the same concerns for their children’s education, students also voiced their opinions towards the BOE’s decision continuing online synchronous learning from home. 

Kaden Lindsey, a senior at JCHS, has said, “It hasn’t been that bad…I thought it was going to be a lot worse because I’m not a super organized person. But actually doing it and having it on Google Classroom, or whatever, has helped.” 

Whilst on the topic of distance learning overall, Lindsey said, “I am kind of surprised that we’ve gone this long, and we’re still going to go however long.”

So far, students like Lindsey have continued to persevere through online-learning. JCHS recently introduced a new time schedule for classes, effective November 2nd, 2020, in an effort to prioritize attention for students needing assistance in learning. 

Through social media and other contacting methods, students have also reached out to one another, staying socially active during an unprecedented time, as well as helping one another through their already rigorous classes.