By JAYESH CHAURASIA ‘23 and MAHA MUSTENSIR ‘23
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, students are engaging less in a virtual learning environment. In the 2020-2021 school year alone, the Edison School District implemented the hybrid schedule twice. To mitigate any potential risk of the virus among students, the students were completely virtual from December 18, 2020 to March 1, 2021. The most recent hybrid procedure, put into effect on March 1, 2021, allowed some students to attend school four days a week per traditional classroom settings.
The new hybrid model was “barely any different as the majority of the change was from a two-day week to a four-day week,” said Jada Charriez ‘23.
Considering the current circumstances, the district took precautions to assist with this transition. Students who were a part of the in-person hybrid schedule were entirely remote on Wednesdays, guaranteeing an enhanced cleaning of the building. Additionally, built-in thermal cameras continue to examine the temperatures of students. Hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes are available in all classrooms. Although maintaining social distancing in transportation continues to be a challenge, students are required to wear masks in buses. Based on the school district’s survey results, most buses have limited numbers of students, thus limiting the spread of the virus.
“Hand sanitizers and wipes are easily accessible throughout the classrooms, but students while transferring classes were cramped and not social distancing in the hallways,” said Sahana Ali ’23. Several students currently taking part in the hybrid schedule brought up this concern. Although the school continues to limit outbreak-causing factors, students are still at some risk.
Despite changes in the hybrid model, teachers continue to utilize platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet to conduct classes to meet students’ needs, remote or in-person. Class participation is encouraged so students can bond with each other, even in an unprecedented virtual classroom setting.
“I wanted to go to school because I was easily getting distracted at home and it was hard to concentrate as both of my parents were in office meetings,” said Ali.
A similar problem was observed by several other students who then chose to attend school physically. These students remark that they are grateful for the opportunity to pick between either the virtual or hybrid schedule while being safe.
As Edison High attempts to return to traditional schooling, health and safety are their top priorities. As teachers and staff members take the vaccine and more students show an interest in being a part of the hybrid learning community, there would likely be a change in events beginning April 19th. Although not yet finalized, students might soon attend school full-day for five days a week.