Hybrid gives students a newfound sense of flexibility
When students departed school on March 13, they didn’t anticipate that in-person classes wouldn’t resume school-wide until Nov. 10.
For months, the school and district administration worked on creating a hybrid schedule that allows staff and students to return to school on an alternating schedule that aims to follow CDC guidelines.
Safety has been the top priority for the district, but they still want students to be able to get hands-on experiences. Since the end of September, Maine West has slowly been bringing students into the building to make sure it is safe. Certain classes such as Anatomy, Biology, and Culinary have had chances to go in and work on assignments such as dissections and labs, which can’t be done at home.
“I went back for a heart dissection, which helped me understand the cardiovascular unit better since I could see what my teacher was talking about,” senior Anatomy student Jessica Pop said. In those situations, students are able to get more in-depth with the dissections and can get a better visual of what they’re learning.
Bringing some students in allowed the school to see what works, but also gave them time to correct any issues before hundreds of students were back in the building. “Every time I’ve gone in, I’ve felt very comfortable and safe,” senior Samantha Adams said.
Through the tireless efforts of the administration, the district has implemented a schedule that prioritizes everyone’s well-being. Each in-person group — an “A Group” and “B Group” — is in-person for half days to try and minimize the risk of exposure. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the group will be in-person in the morning and remote in the afternoon, while Thursday and Friday will be switched with remote learning in the morning and in-person learning in the afternoon. The same schedule would continue the next week, but the other group would then get to go in person to school.
“Half days are a good way to limit exposure, but I think full days make more sense because transportation may be difficult for some students,” junior Viviana Ramirez said. Students are given an hour for lunch and transit to travel to where they will continue their school-day, but some students may not have the means to travel back and forth, therefore limiting their options.
The format of the hybrid schedule has been created in hopes that the school can continue in-person learning for the rest of the semester and into next semester. Although students are only in school every other week, many are looking forward to finally having some normalcy. “I’m super excited to be back. I miss the social interaction and the community of Maine West,” Ramirez said.