Johnson City ISD superintendent talks first day of school, how socialization is important to student development

Education

JOHNSON CITY, Texas (KXAN) — At school you learn a lot, but it goes beyond just the books.

Social interactions play a part as well, but this year with social distancing being a way of life, how will that impact students? And are administrators worried that social distancing could hurt social development?

Superintendent Richard Kolek knows this year will be different for the more than 650 students in the Johnson City Independent School District, most choosing in-person classes while others will learn virtually.

“About 80% is coming back in-person and 20% will be remotely,” Kolek said. “We are going to be teaching hygiene and washing hands, what to do and how to stay safe.”

While the majority of the student body will be on campus, social distancing will take place in the school. That means no close interactions for projects — and no sitting next to friends at lunch.

“Social interactions with kids and even adults, that is a big part of our society and growing up and being able to deal with the day to day struggles that are thrown your way,” Kolek said.

Kolek knows this is a tough situation during the pandemic, but safety protocol has to be followed.

“Yes, we have the means now with computers and technology to be able to interact virtually, but in my opinion nothing takes the place of in class instruction and the social interactions you have face to face,” Kolek said.

For now he says the district will roll with the punches, making sure every student gets the education and help they need. When it comes to in-person classes, he says, socialization can still happen, but it will be different this year.

“As long as we can continue to practice safety by wearing a face shield or a mask I think we can continue, when these kids come back to school to provide those social interactions that are so important to them,” Kolek said.

The district has posted a full list of all policies and procedures for in-person and virtual classes on its website.

School districts starting classes Monday

  • KIPP Charter Schools
  • Lockhart ISD
  • Elgin ISD
  • Fredericksburg ISD
  • Granger ISD
  • Johnson City ISD
  • Blanco ISD
  • Fayetteville ISD

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