On February 8th, almost a year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, West High reopened its doors once again—but with a catch. School isn’t the same as usual, with thousands of students filing though the main hall of the building, friends congregating by the water fountains, or large groups of ELPers rushing to their next class. Due to the severity of COVID-19, West has implemented a series of rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as students are once more allowed to attend in-person classes in limited numbers.
With the majority of teachers vaccinated with either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, both faculty and students have been shipped back off to school to resume in-person classes. However, West’s new hybrid model prompts the question: are teachers failing to serve the online students, and instead favoring those that opted to return to in-person classes?
For some students, online learning is ineffective. Some find it hard to focus, while others neglect their work because of the lack of motivation that in-person schooling would normally offer. For these students, the option to return to in-person learning seems to have helped. However, others may see the hybrid learning method as a step back.
I decided to interview a few students at West and ask for their opinions on the new hybrid model. “Most teachers are good at servicing both groups of kids,” one West High senior stated, “[Although], there is a big disconnect now with the chat feature. Most teachers are either listening to the kids in person or kids with mics on.” And a sophomore said, “I feel like there’s a lot of room of improvement to be had from the teachers when it comes to focusing on people doing online classes.”
For some, hybrid learning is not worth it. With teachers splitting their time between students in their classes and those attending from home, there is bound to be a side that is favored. Some teachers may favor those who are online simply because they are the majority, while others favor those attending classes in-person.
It will probably be a while before we’re fully able to see whether attending classes in-person is helping those who have issues with online learning, or if the differences are small enough to be discounted.
However, while this may not be the best situation, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for those that feel that the hybrid teaching method is failing them. With COVID-19 cases rapidly falling and the recent ramping up of vaccination efforts, there is hope that those who need in-person learning will soon be able to get it, without the constant worry of transmitting or getting the virus.