Education at Dewar schools during the past five months has been difficult, admitted Dewar high school principal Josh Kilhoffer.
Speaking at the Henryetta Lions Club Tuesday, he said there has been so much that administrators and teachers have been dealing with due to the COVID pandemic. “We are making decisions, not what we want but what we have to do.”
The school will be going virtual as school opens there Aug. 24. “Virtual is vastly different in one respect. How we continue our relationship with our kids is the biggest concern.”
He said the tradition school and classroom structure that most kids have been used to has been absent and that worries him. “We are trying to develop policies to do those relationships.”
The school will be using a program called Google Classroom that also incorporates FaceTime meetings with students. “It is easy to use and students can use the app on their phones. There is a learning curve. Our teachers are being taught but we are all in this together.”
One concern of school officials has been availability of devices and computers. “We know some family members have only one device. We are going to do our best to put devices in their hands.” Since the pandemic forced closure of schools in the spring, Kilhoffer said there has been an increase in the availability of WiFi and devices among parents and school.
With the Google app, there is a feature where teachers can be online and have the ability to have face to face meeting with students. “Once it is done, it is recorded and will be uploaded into Google Classroom.”
He said the decision to continue with athletics was based on the numbers. “Our football team is 20 people. We have 450 kids in school. Twenty is easier to manage.”
On a brighter note, Kilhoffer said the pandemic has enabled him to lay the groundwork for his fishing guide service.
“That has been a lifelong dream and I started the process last January.”
With a number of guide services already behind him, Kilhoffer said he has had help setting up Instagram and Facebook from his children.