Students return to reintegrated five day schedule March 1

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Jude Rodriguez

Global Events teacher Ron Adams discusses the school board’s decision with his distanced students.

On February 16, the school board voted 4-3 for schools within the district to resume a five-day, reintegrated class schedule starting March 1, to mixed responses among teachers and students.
In weeks before the vote, teachers were sent varying proposed plans on how to continue class instruction on March 1, with the goal of obtaining feedback that the school board would consider in their future decision. Among the three most popular were: a continuation of the hybrid model where Wednesdays would be half-days that would alternate groups each week, a five-day reintegrated schedule where the school day would be shortened to accommodate a lunchtime release, and a return to a pre-pandemic five-day full schedule.
“I really believe our administration has done a good job in terms of collecting data and teachers’ input,” Global Events teacher Ron Adams said. “There was a survey that was sent to [teachers] in the form of an anonymous Excel sheet where teachers could input issues they were uncomfortable with or things they were supportive of, so I really commend our administration at the high school.”
However, students who disagree with the board’s decision argue that their input was not factored into the board member’s decision. Students like senior class president Cordelia Krajewski voiced their opinion on how they preferred school to continue in a poll on rhsbears.com.
“The students were never formally surveyed by the administration,” Krajewski said. “It became apparent, only when the Wy-News made a poll, that students felt most comfortable staying hybrid.”
According to the Wy-News poll, 60% of the 480 students who voted preferred staying hybrid; meanwhile, 24% voted for the five-day shortened schedule and only 16% chose the five-day full schedule.
“I think transitioning from hybrid to full time or shortened days will be very dangerous,” Krajewski said. “I am already a little on edge being in classes of more than ten people; doubling that will increase my chances of contracting COVID. I also have classes with students who refuse to wear their masks over their whole face, so what’s going to happen when you include more kids who do that?”
Despite these concerns, some teachers believe that it is time to move ahead and progress further away from the hybrid mode now that the national COVID-19 vaccination effort is underway.
“The vaccinations are becoming more and more available, even though the system is not working very well at the state level,” Adams said. “More and more people are getting vaccinated; will we get 100 million vaccinated within 100 days? We’ll see, I like to be optimistic but I do think the vaccine provides a sense of security.”
If the school had decided on retaining its hybrid format, perhaps the most affected party would be teachers. Teachers have already lost a large amount of class instruction time, especially those whose classes feature a more hands-on or collaborative curriculum.
“I want to get back in the classroom,” Adams said. “I don’t have any issues going on a full-day schedule…I’m told that the [COVID-19] numbers are declining, President Biden said that he expects us to be back full-time by April 1, our Governor is mandating that we have to go back to face-to-face to some capacity by March 1, so I have no problems with the board’s decision.”
Adams’ Global Events class features daily lessons covering pressing news issues where students are given a chance to voice their opinion on virtually any topic and are allowed to “bring something to the table” for class discussion.
“I will do everything within my power and ability to practice the guidelines and safety measures in place so that I have the opportunity to sit down in front of students again and feed off of each other’s energy,” Adams said. “You can’t replicate that kind of instruction or interaction through a Zoom meeting.”
The board’s decision to reinstate the pre-pandemic typical school schedule has provided some hope of a return to normal schooling for the rest of the school year, but the fear of having to backtrack to distance learning in the event of another COVID-19 flare-up still lingers in students’ minds.
“I don’t think I will be able to live out my long dreamed of senior year to its full potential which sucks but I’d much rather be safe and not put thousands of students at risk,” Krajewski said. “I think the board’s decision was made with very little logic…it is simply unsafe to go back to school at full capacity.”