Hybrid learning: What is it going to look like?

Megan Clinton, News Editor

Hybrid learning will begin on February 23, with students in group B attending in person classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Students in group C will attend in person classes on Thursdays and Fridays. (Photo by Charlie Adams)

It has been said many times, but this past year of our lives has been full of unexpected challenges and changes. Due to the mitigation strategies that will be put in place to make students and staff much safer, school is going to be different than normal when we go to the hybrid model.

These differences will be apparent before students even walk into the building. Students will have their temperature checked every morning before they can enter. A student with a temperature above 100.4 or who has any symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent to an isolation room and sent home until a parent picks them up.

Classrooms will also be set up differently to encourage social distancing and to accommodate for the hybrid format of teaching. Cameras have been installed in the classrooms for students who are at home to be able to see inside of the classroom, and TVs have been installed in each classroom that both virtual and in person students can see.

Some classes have a larger number of students and the classrooms do not have enough space to safely seat them. Larger classes will utilize the lounge spaces for some students’ instruction to ensure that the learning environment is safe, and that all students are maintaining proper social distance.

Students must remain six feet apart at all times, and luckily the hallways and cafeteria are very large and allow for adequate social distancing. The seating arrangement in the cafeteria allows for 1-2 to students to sit at most tables. The lunch period is 27 minutes long and students are encouraged to wear their mask unless they are actively eating.

If a student wishes to eat a snack during the school day they will have to go to a designated area. Students are not permitted to eat during classes as a safety precaution. The designated areas have adequate space for students to be able to eat and as well as cleaning supplies, so that the next student will have a clean and safe place to snack.

Additionally, students must bring a water bottle to school. There are numerous water bottle fillers throughout the school that students can use, as the use of water fountains is not COVID friendly.

Sanitization is a very important aspect when students return to the building. There are many hand sanitizer stations throughout the school near stairs, lounge areas, and high touch areas. Also the desks in the classrooms will be sanitized between each use. Additionally, there is a COVID mitigation team that will walk around the building to ensure that students and staff are following mitigation procedures. 

“It seems like the school is doing a good job at making sure that we maintain social distance when we go back to hybrid and I’m excited!” junior Emerson Mellon said.

The schedule will also change once we enter the hybrid model of learning. A major change in the schedule is that Mondays will be asynchronous, meaning all students will be virtual and will complete assignments for their classes. Attendance will be taken on Mondays based on students logging into Schoology, but there will not be any live classes.

Other changes include 84 minute classes instead of 55 minute classes. There will not be CCE blocks, and learning support will be shorter (28 mins). For learning support, students will be assigned a room that they have to stay in for the duration of the block.

“Shifting from 55 minutes to 84 minutes is going to be a challenge. Shifting from virtual in the comfort of home to in-person in a new environment is going to be a challenge,” GMHS Principal Mr. Hills acknowledged in his weekly update.

Although students will have to adjust to a new building and schedule, hybrid learning will bring back some of the normalcy students have missed after spending almost a year doing virtual learning from their houses. 

“I’m looking forward to meeting my teachers in person for the first time and getting to see some friends I haven’t seen in a while,” Mellon said. “It will be more fun to learn because we can take a more hands-on approach since we are going to be in the classroom.”