Opinions on In-Person Learning

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  • A message of motivation is displayed for staff and students on campus. It has been over a year since quarantine started, and many people have realized the importance of staying connected and getting through this all together.

  • Flyers that remind students to social distance are taped on every table outdoors. For the success of the In-Person Model, everyone must work together and act responsibly.

  • Signs with CDC guidelines are posted around campus. Students must wear a mask, social distance, and follow additional instructions found in the Reopening Guide.

  • A sign and sanitation supplies greet students entering the music room. Students put their backpacks on shelves outside and enter with only their needed items.

  • Brooklyn Branson diligently takes notes as she reads a passage on her laptop. Branson chose to remain in Online Learning as a safety precaution for those around her.

  • Brooklyn Branson’s notebooks, textbooks, pens, pencils and laptop are set on her desk for online school. Every student’s online setup looks different and varies in organization.

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March 18 launched the official start of the Hybrid Learning schedule, with a limited group of underclassmen arriving on March 16, after CUSD received permission to bring additional groups of students to campus for in-person instruction. 

Sage Creek welcomes students back onto campus as Hybrid Learning begins. The 2-day per week Hybrid Schedule started officially on March 18, with a limited group of underclassmen arriving on campus on March 16th. (Photo Courtesy of Katherine Vermillion)

Student and staff opinions vary, but overall many are ecstatic to see familiar faces in person, though managing class both virtually and in-person is a challenge.

After all this time, stepping back onto campus feels thrilling for some students, especially freshmen who haven’t had the opportunity to experience school on site.

“I really liked being on the campus: I felt really welcomed, it was really fun being there in class instead of being at home and it was easier to focus,” freshman Katherine Vermillion said, describing that a home environment can contain more distractions. 

Some parents feel that students are missing out on their schooling or high school experience. Freshman Analucia Horton was nudged by her parents to try out Hybrid Learning.

“At first I was a little hesitant when [my parents] mentioned sending me back, but now I’ve gone a few days and I really like it,” Horton said. “I really like my teachers and I think they do a good job. I take Biomed class and I think our teacher does a good job finding online labs that we can do in person as well.”

Other students who attended school before quarantine feel a sense of familiarity on campus. Junior Christian Isaiah recalls his experience of first being back and taking in the environment.

“I’m glad to see my friends and I’m glad I get to see my teachers in person,” Isaiah said, “My only fear was people not [following] the mask protocol.”

Students have upheld decent protocol of the Reopening Guide on campus, though Isaiah notes a couple of problematic instances.

Christian Isaiah sends a selfie of himself to a friend before his theater class begins. Currently, the class is working on two plays, one being Pride and Prejudice, which is in the process of being filmed. (Photo Courtesy of Christian Isaiah)

“Unfortunately, we’re not always able to keep the six feet protocol, which kind of sucks. You want to make sure you’re safe, you don’t want to catch anything,” Isaiah said.

He also noted that occasionally kids rush next to him when hurrying to class. 

“As we keep going forward in this, I just ask that students keep their masks on. Double mask. I always wear two masks because I feel like it’s safer,” Isaiah said.

In a study conducted by the CDC, double masking blocked 93% of particles from escaping into the air, while unknotted medical masks and solo cloth masks blocked only 42% and 44% of particles from escaping.

Safety precautions are in the back of many students’ minds. Students at school don’t know the whereabouts of those around them so those who remain at home may be choosing to play it safe. 

“Coming from somebody who is around people who have underlying [health] conditions, they’re very much at risk. The idea of a hybrid model stresses me out,” junior Brooklyn Branson explained. 

She added that she understands the need for some students to go to school in person but is looking at the situation from a broader perspective.

Student habits in Distance Learning versus In-Person instruction have differences, one being how early they get up for school.

“During online school, I usually wake up a little bit later. In-person, I have to be dropped off a little bit earlier,” Horton said.

Another common difference between Virtual Learning and Hybrid is the level of organization and preparation.

Hybrid Learning students sit around campus waiting for their next class. A feeling of some normalcy has returned to those on campus. (Photo Courtesy of Katherine Vermillion)

“[For Hybrid] I would get my stuff ready in the morning, do my hair, and load my backpack with all my school supplies. Before they were just spread out,” Isaiah said.

While students are proud of their teachers for doing a good job managing classes, many teachers behind the scenes face difficulties and are stressed. 

“It’s really hard. [I’m] struggling to feel like I’m meeting the needs of both groups of students,” Music Director Juliana Quiñones said.

The addition of removing Asynchronous Wednesdays, a decision passed by the Board of Trustees on March 24, isn’t making it any easier: it’s overwhelming teachers.

“It’s great to see the kids again. But losing Wednesday is kind of catastrophic. That’s when we [teachers] do most of our grading and our planning,” Quiñones said, explaining that teacher’s weekends will be cut down even more.

With all the difficulties brought by this school year’s unique situation and frequent changes in curriculum, teachers and staff have been giving it their all. Many students feel welcome back on campus, and safety precautions have been adequately maintained, giving students some peace of mind.

“I’m really proud of our Sage Creek community in regards to modeling our core value of being adaptable,” Principal Jesse Schuveiller said. “I’m optimistic and hopeful that when we do come back, we’re going to be stronger than ever [and] more connected than ever.”