Friday, June 5, 2020

Important Update: June 5, 2020

June 5, 2020

Dear Sacred Hearts Academy Community,

Now that the spring term has ended, I am writing to share with you an update on our planning for the coming school year.

Certainly our lives were quite different this spring because of COVID-19 and the challenges we faced here in Hawai‘i and around the world.  As restrictions are being eased at the state and county levels, we are planning a return to campus for the fall term, though we know that this fall will be different from those that we have experienced before.

At every turn in our planning, our focus is on a return to campus that supports the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff.  We look to adhere to state and county requirements and to follow best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Coalition of Girls Schools.  Local private schools are also regularly sharing information and ideas with each other so that we all can be best prepared for a healthy and safe new school year.

We are planning for school to start as scheduled on August 10th, on campus.  We will have contingency plans in place for hybrid and online instruction if they become necessary, but we are giving priority to preparations for school on campus in the coming year.

Among the specific areas that are being addressed are the following:


  1. Ensuring that all school facilities provide for social distancing, including classrooms, restrooms, libraries, gym, hallways and offices.
  2. Making hand sanitizer available in all facilities and providing for frequent disinfecting and cleaning.
  3. Providing for food service with appropriate, new health and safety practices in place.
Schedule and Calendar
  1. Ensuring that school arrival, recess, lunch and departure times facilitate social distancing and avoid large groups of students in one location at one time.
  2. Creating contained class groups and minimizing co-mingling of class groups where possible.
  3. Ensuring that class sizes allow for appropriate social distancing within assigned classrooms.
  4. Determining whether fall and spring break should be eliminated this year in favor of a longer winter break and an early end to the spring term, to allow time for families to self-quarantine after travel during the school year without disruption of student attendance.

Special Courses, Programs and Events

  1. Ensuring that social distancing and other recommended practices by governing organizations or professional associations are followed in areas such as athletic programs (with current focus on fall sports including bowling, cheerleading, cross country, kayaking, sporter riflery, JV tennis, and volleyball), P.E. courses, and performing arts courses and events (including band, choir, dance and drama).
  2. Determining school and community events that cannot be held because of the inability to social distance (Fright Night), events that can be adjusted to allow for appropriate health and safety protocols (Masses, assemblies and most performances) and events that can be held in the customary manner (morning flag raising).
Personal Behavior
  1. Requiring and monitoring social distancing by everyone on campus.
  2. Requiring regular hand washing or use of hand sanitizer by students, faculty and staff.
  3. Requiring the wearing of masks or alternate personal protective equipment by everyone while on campus.
  4. Checking the temperature of all who come on campus.
  5. Minimizing the presence on campus of those who are not students, faculty or staff.
  6. Enforcing existing policy that those who are ill should stay home or will be sent home immediately if they are at school.


  1. Ensuring the appropriate number of faculty are available to facilitate class sizes that provide for social distancing.
  2. Adding a nurse or alternate health care professional to school staff.
  3. Training cleaning staff for sanitizing facilities as we did with Ecolab in spring.

As we know from our experience earlier in the year, government guidelines and directives related to COVID-19 can change from time to time with only a short time provided to respond.  These changes can impact the directions we take in our planning, and they can impact our operations in the upcoming school year.  So we very much appreciate your understanding, patience and adaptability as we all work forward to make next school year a great one.

We will provide additional details related to our plans for next year in early July, and orientations on our new protocols will be provided before the start of the new school year for students, parents, faculty and staff.  In the meantime, we hope you have a great summer!

Scott Schroeder, PhD
Head of School