While Omega School is technically closed due to COVID-19 until authorities allow it to reopen, the work that they do – helping adults prepare for and obtain a GED/HSED credential and education – is only ramping up.

“Not too much has changed here. We’re connecting with students, we’re getting some students material. Our staff is still engaged and involved, it’s just a different format,” Omega School Principal Oscar Mireles tells Madison365. “We are rolling with the punches. Now that we know what the parameters are, how do we figure out the best plan to serve our students?”

For many area non-profits, shutting down the physical center of activity can really limit what they can do. Fortunately, all of Omega School records are online and they are still able to work with students over the phone and virtually to help them to get their GEDs.

Oscar Mireles

“We are still able to provide instruction. We’re going to be able to stay in contact with students by text and phone and e-mail. Students can still take their practice tests online,” Mireles says. “Pretty much we’re going to be able to do what we’ve always done – prepare people for the test. 

“If they put in the time, there’s a really high percentage chance that they are going to pass. Not much is changing for us here,” he adds. 

Omega School provides individualized basic skills instruction in a supportive and informal atmosphere and works cooperatively with other agencies and institutions throughout Dane County to help thousands of adults prepare for and obtain a GED/HSED credential. Omega School offers a thing called GED Academy, self-directed, cloud-based software application that prepares adult students for the GED test and college and career readiness.

Omega School graduates
(photo by Martin Jenich)

The cap and gown ceremony won’t be happening at Omega School Graduation Ceremony this spring, however. That will be disappointing, but necessary. 

“We’re not going to have a graduation right now. If Summerfest is postponing until September and other things like the NBA and the Olympics are postponing, we will have to postpone, too,” Mireles says. “The graduation ceremony is important, but I think that all of our students understand – at least at the current time — why that’s not going to be in the equation for now.

“The reality of the situation has really hit home the last few days,” he adds. “We’re going to be rolling out a number of things soon as far as online. Students still need contact and I’ve had contact with more than 20 just last week. The days are a lot longer when you don’t have anything to do so I think it’s good timing to keep people busy.”

For Mireles, who is very personable and humorous and enjoys the personal interaction with each student, he will miss that face-to-face contact.

“One thing I’ve learned is that you can still be personable over the phone,” smiles Mireles, who has been with Omega since April of 1994. “Although it’s a little harder to do through text or e-mail.

“But there’s a trust that has been built here with our students at Omega School and that will carry over through virtual interaction,” he adds. “We’re pretty small and nimble here at Omega so we are prepared for this current situation we are facing. What we do at Omega School, we do well. We will keep doing it.”