It has been over a year since our lives went from walking into classrooms to logging into google meets. Palo Verde High School’s teachers and students were then left with no social interaction, while distanced from both school activities and their everyday routines. The question is, should online learning end or continue?
Recently, the Clark County district announced its plan to reopen schools along with activities that we have all missed out on the past school year. The district introduced cohorts A, B, and C to pace out the reopening. Cohorts A and B are sub-categorized within the hybrid model, whereas students in cohort C remain in distance learning.
After being isolated for so long, some are excited to walk in their school doors, but with only a couple of months left in the 2021- 2022 school year, some choose to login from the comfort and guaranteed safety of their homes.
Palo Verde High School junior, Tessa Forth, said, “I’m choosing cohort A/B (specifically B) primarily to try to have somewhat of an in-person learning experience and meet some of my classmates, and with the hope that everything will be COVID-safe. I also like that I’ll have the option of being able to physically go to school, but without ruling out the ability of going back online if I ever need to.”
Tessa plans on engaging in the in-person cohorts to interact and experience (somewhat) traditional school learning again.
Catherine Carvalho, also a Palo junior, said, “I am choosing to go back, and I will be in cohort B. It is important that we try and implement a hybrid model because I believe that we need to have a certain number of successful days in the hybrid model before we can go back to school full time. And so I think it’s important that we’re doing this now because I want to be able to go back to school before I graduate.”
Catherine has only experienced one full year of in-person learning. She hopes to see her classmates (while maintaining health regulations) before she officially says goodbye to Palo Verde High School.
Katie Lattner said, “my dad’s immune system is down, so I can’t risk the exposure of COVID to my house.”
With the contagiousness of the pandemic in mind, Katie chooses to continue with cohort C.
“It fits best with my family’s schedule as my sister and brother are going to be going back on a hybrid schedule. Also, I found the new system confusing and overall a hassle to drive to Palo and only attend two classes and then finish the day online. It would overall be much more convenient and not to mention safer during this pandemic to just finish the year online and plan on coming back next year, hopefully fully in-person,” said Palo junior, Logan Bledsoe stating his reason for the change to cohort C from cohort A.
Jonathan Garcia-Escobar, junior at Palo, said, “distance learning has affected many students’ mental health. Going back to in-person education is essential for the well-being of not just students, but teachers and parents as well.”
In addition, many have expressed some concerns regarding the reopening format.
Mrs. Reed said, “As a teacher, I think the hybrid model is complicated and not accessible to all students. Many students want to return but cannot find transportation either to and from school or to their bus stops since the hybrid schedule is only half-day of ‘in-person’ instruction. Classes should be shorter with a staggered passing period. Overall, students attending school is better for their well-being, but the hybrid model needs adjustment to fit the physical needs of students.”
Mrs. Reed is not alone in questioning the accessibility of the new schedule. Particularly, many students have become frazzled by the lunch schedule as well.
“I believe that the CCSD district should simplify its words upon the schedules for reopening to clarify confusion and conflicts. Right now, the instructions and the process aren’t comprehensible for the Palo educators and learners,” said Noor Janjua, junior at Palo.
The weight of re-entering the classroom and opening a laptop screen seem to remain relatively balanced. All that is left to do now is sit back, wait, and evaluate the success or the downfall of the new hybrid model taken on.