Columbus teachers work to make virtual classes feel like what students are used to.

School starts on August 17th.


COLUMBUS, Kan. – Michele Hamilton has been a teacher in Columbus for 22 years, and is currently a technology teacher for Kindergarten through 5th grade.

“Basic keyboarding. I teach them how to use the computer, how to start the computer for my little tiny ones. And once they get to second grade, we start doing more word processing and typing,” says Hamilton.

But teaching young students how to use a computer without them in the same room can be a challenge. One she had to face last spring.

“It was a challenge at first, but I did feel pretty confident in my students that I taught them enough to get them going,” says Hamilton. “I think kids like learning in different ways. I do think though they need to be here in school.”

That decision though will be up to parents, and in Columbus, they will have three options. Traditional in-class learning five-days a week, virtual at-home learning, or a hybrid of the two where kids go to school a few days a week and then do work online the others.

“Our goal is to make the instruction that is online just as comprehensive and valuable as they were to be in person,” says Park Elementary Principal Anna Moser.

Teachers will teach their traditional classes, and then, oftentimes from their classroom, teach their virtual classes using either Google Classroom or the program Seesaw. They’ll be able to put up recorded lessons, design learning exercises, and even talk through lessons with their class by using programs like Zoom. So even though all of the teachers would love to see their kids again, they’re working hard to make learning the best it can be, no0 matter what parents decide to do.

“We have to remember that teachers have been asked to change at the drop of a hat. And we’ve done that. We’ve risen to the occasion,” says Moser. “I’m confident that we have a heart for students in this district, and that we’ll do whatever it takes to be on the forefront of that new learning, however that might look.”

School in Columbus starts on August 17th. The district is still working on the final details for how in-person classes will work and what health guidelines they’ll have to adhere to.