EDITORIAL: School needs to stay hybrid if students, teachers return as planned in February
December 11, 2020
The school has decided on a planned return in February, but the specifics of how school will work when students and teachers return is not known. The school won’t decide on a returning plan until a week or two before February. The school can either return with a hybrid model or do full in-person classes.
If cases drop to the point where students and teachers can return in February, the school should implement the same hybrid model that was used in November. Even if things look better a week or two before that, the school may think returning fully in-person is a possibility; however, using the hybrid model is the best and safest choice for the students and teachers.
A priority for the school is to remain as safe as possible when returning to in-person classes. However, if the school decides to return fully, meaning all students will attend at once, this would not be in the best interest of the teachers, students or their families at home. The goal is to have as few students as possible in one class and throughout the entire building. The only way to ensure this and still be able to provide in-person classes would be to use the hybrid schedule. The hybrid schedule allows students and teachers to have that physical space at school since not everyone will be together at the same time. There will be, at most, ten students in the same room with hybrid–and even then, all students will be spread out–but if the school returns fully in-person, these classes will then have to hold up to 20 or more cramped student bodies in one room.
One of main reasons the hybrid model is important for student learning is because the A and B rotation allows the in-person experience that many students want or even need. For many students, as well as teachers, fully virtual classes can be a challenge. Spending too much time looking at a screen for hours at a time is not healthy either. Although the hybrid model would mean that students would still have days of virtual learning, having those in-person classes every other day will truly benefit the students and help them better their grades and overall mindset. Think of hybrid as the best of both worlds: students are able to interact with each other and teachers again with in-person classes but are also able to stay safe with the reduced number of students at the school. It’s a way of having a balance between online and in-person schooling that will benefit both students and teachers equally.
With the hybrid model, it’s not as if the school has to experiment or attempt anything new as this model was used before. Teachers won’t have the stress about figuring how to manage hybrid classes as they have had enough experience that. If we go back in February, it should be somewhat of a smooth transition. Not only is the model something that most are used to, it also worked. Despite its timing with the school’s short return, things were working well until there was an increase in COVID-19 cases within the county.
Some students did not like the hybrid schedule, finding it confusing or rather difficult to follow; however, since students spent only one week with the model, being able to experience it more will help students become accustomed to it. Others may argue that students and teachers should return in-person fully. Although this might be easier for some families, this would be the worst option for everyone’s health. Hybrid acts as the medium for both sides, giving students the opportunity to experience both virtual and in-person learning.
One solution for a smoother way of managing the hybrid model is to adjust the A and B rotations. Instead of having A and B students come in-person every other day, have A students attend in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday and B students attend in-person classes on Thursday and Friday. This way, Wednesday would act as a day for school cleaning. Those days where students are not in-person, asynchronous assignments would be provided.
Ultimately, if everyone cooperates with the mandatory masking and social distancing rules authorized by the school, the hybrid schedule will be a strong way to return.