Head 2 Head
September 16, 2020
By now, we are all aware of the current pandemic. COVID-19 has completely taken the world by storm and has changed life as we know it. Not all of the outcomes have been bad — take hybrid learning, for example.
Hybrid learning takes the students’ need for in-person teaching and mixes it with the safety of being at home. They get the best of both worlds. Some students can focus much better at home with the hybrid model. It is a great way for all students to benefit.
The hybrid model has students going to school two days a week and being at home for the other three. They get in-person learning time where we can ask questions and get help with things we do not understand, but students also get to be independent, work at their own pace, and learn time management skills.
In an article from educationdrive.com, Laurie Wolfe, the head academic officer at Gem Innovation Schools in Napa, Idaho, gave her thoughts: “One thing that [our teachers] have realized is that their students in the brick-and-mortar setting are far less independent than students in the online setting.”
The hybrid model is also similar to a typical college schedule. Students are only meeting with teachers once or twice a week and are doing most of their work on their own time. This will help students adjust better if they choose to pursue higher education.
Many people who are against the hybrid model have raised the question, “Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of online education, keeping our students safe from COVID?” Yes, while students are now being exposed to others, it is much more limited now than if everyone were fully back in the building.
We now have less people in the building at a time, which limits the spread. There are also mask regulations, social distancing policies, and assigned seats, making it easier to contact trace if anyone comes down with the virus.
The hybrid schedule is beneficial to students as it provides a realistic college prep setting while also accommodating for student safety. Win-win.
It is a fact that COVID-19 has changed day-to-day life. The most dramatic change, however, is the basics of education. Fayette County is on a hybrid schedule, which is a system where kids attend school two days a week and participate in class from home three days a week. The application of hybrid learning has brought unneeded stress on students.
Many students, including myself, struggle to focus without the typical classroom setting. On top of that, the amount of screen usage causes problems for students, including massive headaches and eye strain. In the normal classroom, students are not forced to stare at a screen for hours on end.
To be frank, the workload has increased dramatically, and the platforms students use to complete their work have been known to crash frequently. However, glitches, crashes, and a massive increase in screen time are not the only problems with hybrid schooling.
The new hybrid model is not just a problem for students — teachers are struggling, too. They do not get to see their students in person, making it more challenging to properly teach them. Students who struggle in school are unable to get the help they need because there is limited time after face-to-face instruction.
Regarding potential benefits to student health and safety, students stay home three days a week and do assignments online. This method of limited contact is only effective if students are quarantining themselves on their off days, but in many cases, they are continuing to intermingle with other peers and adults.
In an article from wired.com, William Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, writes, “If you want to limit children and teachers’ exposure to infection, it’s better to have students spend their time within a consistent group of peers.”
This contradicts everything the school board has said about the “perfect” solution to the pandemic. The hybrid schedule is backwards and has created many challenges for instruction and allowing students to grow.