School is one of the many things that has changed significantly in recent months due to COVID-19. To keep students safe, Davis School District has chosen to apply a hybrid learning schedule that is affecting students academically and socially.
This new schedule involves students attending school in-person twice a week and remotely on the other 3 days. Students have found that learning half the curriculum online allows them to get more sleep and live a healthier lifestyle, but it poses challenges academically.
“I always get confused at when assignments are due and I never know if, somehow, I missed an assignment. I feel like teachers haven’t made it very clear what assignments we’re doing in class and what we need to do at home.”
States Breanna Wilson, a senior at Davis.
The hybrid schedule seems to be shifting the ratio of learning to practicing in a negative way. Less learning. More homework. Students are only in each class once a week. Such limited time with teachers in-person makes it difficult to understand the concepts. Consequently, when they are trying to complete their many homework assignments on remote days, students often feel confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
“Virtual instruction can often be confusing and doesn’t allow for activities that further explain the concept (like labs and demonstrations). The biggest frustration has been not understanding the concepts and not knowing what the expectations are for each class or assignment.”
Says Rachel Dummer, a Davis High student.
Since there is less time to learn the concepts, many teachers are cutting their curriculum nearly in half so as not to push students at an unbearable pace. Students appreciate this because it lessens their workload and anxiety, however, they are not being intellectually stimulated.
“When you’re taking classes with this hybrid schedule, you’re probably only going to learn half the material that you were supposed to. I’m super into learning, so I find that an issue. If I’m taking a class, I want to learn the material it’s supposed to teach me.”
Another problem that students have noticed with this system is attendance. This schedule was designed to allow students to work completely from home should they get sick or if the school were to shut down again. It was supposed to relieve students of the pressure to attend school in the building. However, it has not done so. In fact, since students only go to each class once a week, grades are more attendance-based than ever before. Students have expressed that they wish teachers would make more of an effort to ensure that they will not get penalized for missing class if they get sick.
Students are also being affected socially in many ways due to this new system. One way is through masks. Davis School District requires all students to wear masks to promote safety. Most students are very willing to abide by this rule if it means they get to stay in school, however, they have noticed that the masks have caused notable changes in the social dynamic of the school.
“In a lot of my classes, way less people talk to each other and it’s a lot harder to read people’s emotions. I’ve noticed that it’s harder for me to make friends too. I feel like I have less social skills with a mask on because I can’t tell how people feel. Also, I can’t understand my teachers or classmates sometimes because their voices get muffled.”
The hybrid schedule splits the school population in half alphabetically and then alternates the two groups between in-building and remote. Group A attends school on Mondays and Wednesdays, while Group B attends on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This means that students no longer see some of their friends at school.
“It’s hard to keep up with friends on the other schedule. You really have to make an effort at it. It’s a lot harder when you don’t see them at school to stay friends with them. It’s just a matter of keeping in communication and showing that you care, even if you’re not physically able to see them. This new schedule is very much a test of who is your actual friend and who is just there because of convenience.“
Explains Eva Weeks, a Davis High senior.
One of the biggest disappointments that this new schedule brought was the lack of school social events. Sports games are difficult to attend, and the school is not sponsoring any dances. These events provide great opportunities for students to meet new people and make new friends. Not having these leaves a void in school morale.
“The dances and sporting events are what hold the school together and give students school pride. I think that not being able to attend all of those will definitely affect the students socially. It’s hard not to be able to go and support your school. I think it will definitely impact every individual socially in some way and will impact school pride in general.”
Without these social events, students are having to find new ways to stay involved. Many have found that joining a club or sports team helps them stay connected. Others use Dartboard on Canvas to connect with other students. It’s important to stay involved where possible so that we can maintain school pride during these trying times.
Despite the challenges and shortcomings of the new hybrid schedule, students are grateful to be back in school and have respect for all the teachers, SBOs, and administration that are doing their best to lead our school under these unusual circumstances.