After four weeks of hybrid learning, the high school returns to full in person learning

Avery Green, Staff Writer

Thea Newkirk ‘22 is reunited with her close friends within the gold group as she transitions from the hybrid option to the all-in-person learning option that the doors widely opened on Oct. 5 to both the blue and gold groups. 

“I noticed I learned a lot better in a classroom setting, it helped me not have the distractions of being at my own house, and it forced me to pay attention,” Newkirk said. “I was a bit disappointed when the original hybrid option was taken away because it obviously limited my exposure to other students, and it allowed both the benefits of at-home and in-class learning.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention clearly states that in order to lower the risk of COVID-19 spreading in schools, schools must be encouraged to caution students to stay home if feeling ill and execute making the school environment the most socially distanced as possible. Olivia Williams ‘22 made the challenging decision of switching from hybrid to hybrid plus for the main purpose of having a more prominent chance of not being exposed to COVID-19.

“It’s much harder to stay connected with the entire class and participate in group activities through zoom,” Williams said. “Listening to lectures, staying focused on my work, and not getting distracted by friends are all way easier while I’m at home.”

The hybrid plus option has shown extreme comfort to student-athletes to protect themselves from the potential two-week quarantine if exposed to a COVID-19 positive student.

“Although I really enjoy the learning environment while being online at home, I will be returning to in-person learning whenever my field hockey season is over,” Williams said. “Orchestra is one class that is extremely difficult to do online because the purpose of that class is to work as a group, so I have spent a lot of time working individually on my instrument instead of with the ensemble.”

One path that some students take to prevent being at high risk is the hybrid plus option. This is an all-virtual option to ensure extra safety to prevent the possibility of exposure to COVID-19. Both Williams and Newkirk have chosen a path during some point of the 2020-21 school year that has put them in a COVID-19 high-risk situation, the hybrid plus option will ensure the highest safety of preventing high risk due to zero in-person contact.

“My learning hasn’t changed much, except now it’s a bit harder to keep up when the teachers go through notes or activities faster because more people are at school,” Elise Moo ‘23 said. “I sometimes feel disconnected if my teacher is mainly talking to the people in person only, or if they forget to start the zoom.” 

The hybrid plus option is an option that involves little to no interaction with peers and gets lonely at some points while students are completely isolated. 

“I miss the social aspect of school a lot, like being able to see my friends and people I’m not as close with in person,” Moo said. “Being at home is definitely safer for my family but I miss seeing my friends.”

With all these different learning experiences comes a great deal of elevated levels of difficulty trying to get the most successful and safe learning opportunities. 

Newkirk enjoyed the schedule when the school year first started, “Having the hybrid program as a learning option at the beginning of the year was very helpful. I wish that the school still allowed the hybrid system as a safer in-between alternative, instead of only having an all in-person or all online option”. 

While both the Hybrid Plus and Hybrid option paths exhibit weaknesses and strengths, there is no path that is more effective than the other. Students are faced with many new and challenging problems that COVID-19 has thrown in their direction.