K-W students

As they left their buildings last Tuesday a majority of K-W students were somber. This was not an early out because of a potential snowstorm when students cheer loudly as the announcement is made of the early dismissal. The unknown, affected students at all levels. Principal Matt Ryan indicated the students were sad almost to the point of tears.

Choir Director Stephanie Schumacher posted a video of the Concert Choir singing “A Song of Farewell” for the seniors. The song was beautifully performed by the students and meaningful by the looks on their faces.

In talking to some of the seniors they referenced the potential loss of many end of the year activities. After planning for most of the school year there is a possibility of no prom or the after-prom party. A few commented on the possibility of no formal graduation from high school. They talked about how colleges have canceled graduations.

Many of the young students are missing their friends, teachers and the routine of school.

Local churches

When asked about retirement my usual answer is “Every day is Saturday except for Sunday, when the big paper comes and I go to church.” On Sunday, the big paper came and thank you to the ministers of local churches I was able to “attend” church by looking at a computer screen.

In these uncertain times, the local clergy have stepped-up to use social media to provide spiritual guidance. Many members of the ministry have posted their homilies for Wednesday evening and Sunday services on church Facebook and church web pages. Some of the services are done in church sanctuaries while others are presented from homes, but they all include the message from God in both a traditional sermon and a children’s sermon.

The tolling of church bells at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays is a reminder to the faithful to pray for others.

COVID-19 locally

It is amazing at this time how people extend themselves to help others.

The Kenyon Bar & Grill is offering curbside service for pick-up of ordered food and will deliver to homes for a $2 delivery charge. They are also offering free brown bag lunches to families in our area.

Che Che’s Lunchera food truck is open and operating on their usual schedule. They are providing a free lunch option for students.

After we have weathered this crisis and things return to the new normal, the community needs to support these businesses who have provided so much during this time.

Residents of Kenyon Senior Living posted “Messages to Loved Ones” on the KSL Facebook page. While the public is not allowed into the facility at this time, I am sure the residents would appreciate a note/letter from community members.

Masks

Samantha Meyer, a member of the medical staff at the Allina Hospital in Faribault, posted the following information on the Holden/Dale Facebook page.

“My staff may be the ones that won’t have masks because of a nationwide shortage. If anyone can help with this, I would be happy to come to you to collect so you don’t need to drive to Faribault. We are asking for new, factory-made N95 or ear loop masks as well as homemade masks. Thank you!”

For people interested in helping out by making masks the details and pattern can be found at blog.bluecrossmn.com/covid19masks

Long-distance learning

Last Wednesday morning the staff of K-W met to hear Superintendent David Thompson and others make presentations on the concept of Long-Distance Learning. During this time staff was given some insight on how this way of disseminating information to students would function.

Thompson talked about how during this state of emergency, schools are traveling through uncharted territory. While students are familiar with e-learning days used during snow days, long-distance learning days will have a different look and expectation.

One article I read, stated that for some schools distance learning will be a hybrid of old-school textbooks, new devices, and projects. Distance learning needs to be a sustained program of rigorous instruction that meets state standards.

One of the challenges that teachers are presented with will be solving how to have daily interaction with their students. When a teacher works face to face with students they build learning relationships with them so the teacher may see when the student is not understanding a concept. Working with students using screen time may not allow the teacher to see students who need extra help.

Another task educators are dealing with is how to deal with the different learning styles when not working with learners in the classroom.

Whether in the classroom or using long-distance learning the mental health of students is always a concern.

This new way of educating young people will not be perfect from the start. Teachers have been given time to develop long-distance learning plans, but there will be a time of trial and error in delivering education to learners.

Kevin Anderson is a guest columnist for The Kenyon Leader.

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