Photo courtesy of Gus Cromwell
by Kyle Wu, editor
Voices filled the quad, students filed into classrooms and the once-empty campus became again vibrant with activity.
On April 26, Maria Carrillo High School officially opened its doors to hundreds of hybrid students after a year of online learning.
The move back to hybrid was met with mixed reactions, with approximately half of MCHS students opting for hybrid. While many applauded and looked forward to coming back, I believe that this premature return was a mistake.
One of the major problems with hybrid learning was the utter lack of safety measures. Although much was promised, there seemed to be a disconnect between the promised safety procedures and what actually happened. The designated entrances didn’t seem closely monitored. There didn’t seem to be any of the proposedtemperature checks happening on campus.
There was also virtually no social distancing. During the passing periods in the quad, many students congregated, sometimes even without masks. While this is understandable after a long period of being isolated, this lack of social distancing could easily incite a new local wave —of virus spread.
In addition, there didn’t seem to be any rigid procedures in place for enforcing safety. On top of hand-washing stations and plastic shields in classes—both of which were optional—little else was done to protect students from virus spread. There weren’t even clearly communicated procedures for responses to certain situations, including how to remedy problems such as sick students and the isolation room.
While it’s certainly hard to enforce all these things, if we’re unable to do it, we shouldn’t try to do it in the first place. I believe that the return to hybrid presents a trade-off between social interaction and safety. During these unusual times, we must lean toward safety.
Furthermore, the quality of education almost seems better in distance learning. While it’s true that some students may need (or want) the in-person help, there was very little in-person interaction in class. The majority of my classes still relied on Zoom meetings, even while students were physically in the room. To me this is pointless. I could easily have done the same —thing at home.
On top of that, hybrid learning caused a decrease in the total instruction time. To amply execute the safety measures we had–wiping down desks and using hand sanitizer–some class time inevitably had to be cut short. Yet with class time already being reduced because of the pandemic, having to cut out a few minutes at the beginning and end of each hybrid class is simply detrimental for students’ education.
Finally, the return to hybrid was stressful for many families. While students eagerly anticipated seeing their friends again, parents and older siblings had to worry about things like transportation. I myself had to wake up early to take my sister to zero period, and then arrange pick-up after school. These considerations are too stressful for families, especially considering we only had weeks left. With so little time, it seems pointless to me to disrupt the normal routine that many have already established.
While some cherish the opportunity to physically go back to school, the trade-offs that come with it just don’t seem worth it. After all, we’ve already been doing online learning for almost a year–what’s a month more?