Q and A With the Principal


Question : As a principal trying to run a high school during a pandemic what has been the hardest part?

Answer: That’s a tough question because it’s a hard enough job when you’re not in a pandemic. You’re trying to keep everybody in school, and trying to get them to learn and make sure the teachers are teaching. With the pandemic, you added not only one layer but many layers of making it harder. … We have to look about keeping everybody healthy, making sure that every aspect of our daily lives in school, even lunch, how we serve lunch, when you can and cannot eat, how we separate campus (is safe). So it’s become .. a whole lot more challenging, just trying to keep everybody safe and trying to keep operations of the school as normal as possible. … People say, “Wow, how do you do it?” and I ask myself that question a lot of times and when I go home,”How did I make it through this day?” because there’s so many different things that happened throughout the day.

Question : How do you feel about the safety measures we put in for this school year?

Answer: I feel okay about it. I wish we could do a whole lot more. Unfortunately, with what we have and the amount of students and amount of classroom space that we have, I feel that it’s adequate enough to keep us as safe as possible. If I had my own way, we’d be in much smaller classroom sizes. We’re in a pretty good place right now.

Question : What are your thoughts about a possible return to online school?

Answer: I would like to keep you folks here as long as possible because this is the best education setting, in school. … So, it will take the order from the governor, who goes to my boss to tell me that we’re going to lock down, but as far as being in favor of a lock down, I’m not for it right now, unless it really starts to skyrocket. We’ve been pretty lucky here at the school. … But it concerns me with the numbers of cases that are coming up. … I don’t know what the magic number is to lock us up but I think if it continues to go up, the government is going to do something as far as locking the state down, but I’m truly not in favor of it. My thoughts would be that, it’ll be the last resort, I think it showed us last year, showed me last year, that a lot of our students struggled with being virtual and online because I think you still need that face-to-face contact with your teachers to get instruction. … I really want students and teachers to be back face-to-face in the classroom, to get the best instruction possible.

Question: When the pandemic started, what things did you realize? What immediately came to your mind?

Answer: The first question is “Okay, how are we going to deal with this as a school?” I knew that it was not going to be the same, how it normally is where you come to school every day, with the teachers in the classroom, meeting friends and all those kind of things. so I knew that that was going to be very different. And how to figure out how we come to school, not only you folks but the teachers as well, how to keep everybody as safe as possible. So it was difficult to plan out to make it as safe as possible. … Everybody talks about the new normal. The new normal is where everybody’s got to wear face masks, everybody’s got to be three feet apart. So it’s not the same as it was before. That was the big realization. It’s gonna be different.

Question : Beyond keeping us safe, what other goals do you have and what challenges do you anticipate this year?

Answer: The goal is to graduate all of you, make you successful, make you pass on from freshman to sophomore, sophomore to junior, and junior to senior, to graduate and go off to college or career or wherever you want to go. It’s always been the goal, to make you prepared, as successful as possible. How this pandemic has really affected us is that it limits the opportunities, like you can’t go on field trips, you can’t go visit colleges, you can’t go visit different workplaces. … I think that’s the piece that’s kind of missing, making you understand what is it that you want to do or want to be after high school, which has always been a goal.

Question : How did the pandemic affect you outside of your job?

Answer: When it first hit and we got locked down, I missed my friends and family. I couldn’t get to see them. You guys all know the same feeling. We couldn’t go out to the movies or out to eat in a restaurant. So it affected me that way as well too. And then most importantly I travel a lot, so it cut down on my traveling. I couldn’t even go visit my mom on the Big Island because we were not allowed to travel. … So however you guys feel affected, I’m the same way.

Question: What are the challenges we have to deal with now that all students are back in person at school?

Answer: Keeping everybody safe. And I think that’s the hardest thing because you folks, students, human nature, everybody wants to be by each other. And with this new pandemic, it’s about social distancing, cannot be hugging each other, cannot be high fiving each other like before. And I think that’s the biggest difference, how do you keep everybody away from each other, having a three foot distance in between.