Students react to talks of hybrid learning

This past week seniors received an email about going back to school soon. Although not much has been said to the students about the plans for reopening, some things that have been told to us about the plans are students would be eating lunch in a classroom, work would still be online because students won’t be allowed to share supplies and schooling would be your choice for hybrid (in-person and remote). 

Informal polls taken in some teachers’ classrooms reveal a majority of students would choose to stay full remote at this time. In one class of 30, 61% said that they were scared of possibly spreading the virus further, yet 57% said that they would like to go back to school and have a hybrid system. In another class of juniors, 25% said that they were excited to go back to school and 75% said that they were more comfortable with continuing remote learning. In polls taken in four other senior classes, 67% of total students said they would choose full remote and 33% would choose the hybrid model.

Many students have voiced their concerns about going back. As seniors read the email many got mixed feelings and felt a little overwhelmed. Some stated that they were worried that some students may not follow safety precautions, or even worse, were worried that they would get COVID and spread it to their loved ones thanks to us still being in a red zone.

However other students stated that they hated online school or that if it is just for two days a week it probably won’t be all that bad to go. There have been many resources put into place such as air filters and no touch hand sanitizer dispensers.

“I feel like going back to school is unnecessary at this point in the school year and will only increase the spread of covid-19,” said senior Daniel Damico. 

Senior athlete Madison Smith said: “I feel like we put a lot of effort into getting used to the remote learning and we should just keep it that way. Going back into the school will not only have many complications but possibly raise the number of cases as well. That could lead to more things being taken away from us such as sports, graduate activities, graduation itself, etc.”

“Yeah, of course, personally I would love to be back learning in school because I miss social interaction with teachers and students,” senior Ineda Bresha said. “But at the same time I don’t think going to school two days biweekly would really do anything to enhance my learning plus at this time it’s really scary to be in a closed environment with so many people.”

Senior Kiara Cruz says she would need to know more to even consider going back. “I don’t feel super comfortable going back but that’s because my sister has pretty bad asthma,” Cruz said.  “So I wouldn’t want to risk it given the choices and options we have. I would honestly need to know more about the school’s plan to even consider going back.” 

 “Covid cases haven’t gone down at all and if we start going this early there’s a high chance of us getting the virus, it’s kind of scary,” junior Amanda Alonzo said.

Senior Sabrina Perez said: “I think it’s just better overall returning to school I mean it’ll be different and all but malls are opened and they’re claiming its safe so why not schools too as if it’s not as important and pretty much builds our social lives in the beginning personally I think it’s the right time I’m ready to go back ” 

Senior Carla Berciano said:  “It’s nice to think we can go back but it’s going to be difficult to keep everyone six feet apart plus we are also already almost halfway through the year so there’s kind of no point of going back.”

“I think that in-person learning will be helpful for the people who need it but the students who are doing good right now probably wouldn’t benefit and would just be putting themselves at risk for Covid,” junior Isiah Mitchell said. 

“I want to go back because I feel like it would make it easier for me to learn, but I enjoy being in the comfort of my own home,” junior Marques Laforest said.  

Additional statements from 12 other seniors

As seniors, there are many things we want to experience that we have already lost. Seniors want to feel like they own the school, they want to walk around the halls and feel powerful. When the school first shut down we never thought we would lose all of that. We would lose our prom, our spirit weeks, and the fun things that thousands of seniors did for the past years. We missed out on the true senior experience. It is true, how are we supposed to enjoy the year with masks and having the thought of catching this horrible virus on our minds every day when we wake up to go to school? –Kemilly Pinto ‘22

Although I would love to go back to in-person school for the last few months of my senior year, right now seems like the absolute worst time to do so. In September, we decided to go remote because the case numbers in Everett were relatively high and still increasing, which was definitely the right choice at the time. Using this same logic, it makes no sense to begin in-person school as early as February. We are currently in the midst of the second surge of the pandemic, meaning that case numbers and positivity rates are soaring even higher than they were during the first surge (March through May of last year). More specifically for Everett, we are not only still in the red zone but the positivity rate and case count is higher than it ever has been. Based on these statistics alone, it simply does not seem safe to go back at the end of the month. Moreover, I feel sorry for teachers and other staff who will be forced to go back into the building. While a teacher themselves may be healthy enough to return to the building, they may be in close contact with someone that, if that staff member were to be exposed to the virus, would be harmed. One of my teachers yesterday, for example, talked about how they have a newborn whose immune system was compromised at birth. It is simply not fair for them to be forced to go into the building and have to risk the health and safety of their child and the rest of their family. –Keara Farrell ‘22

As the possibility continues to arise for the seniors to return to school in-person, I personally wouldn’t mind going back because I would be taking that risk on my own. I personally have a job and have worked through the whole pandemic and have and continue to risk going to work and in my opinion would be the same risk. In my opinion I feel that it is a good idea because it’s not mandatory for the students to come back but will be soon an option for the students that do wish to go back. The thought of the students going back sounds great to most but in my opinion won’t be the “grand reopening” that we all wish it would be. There have been many assumptions of the exact date for us to go back to school in-person, and has and may continue to be pushed back due to the amount of cases in our city, and how much they are arising.  Speaking for the half that doesn’t mind going back, many people have been already risking going to work, family events, social gatherings and more. if you take precaution and understand what you have and need to do to keep yourself safe. –Sarah Dumeng ‘22

There have been talks recently about the idea of returning to in-person learning perhaps as early as February. I don’t agree with that and I don’t like that idea. I wouldn’t say that it is smart to be back at school before we all get vaccines. It is not safe, but personally I am not scared of the virus and I probably had it that I didn’t even know but at the same time I don’t want to risk my family’s lives. That is just one of the reasons I won’t be back to in person learning. Attending school remotely has several benefits and shortcomings alike. Each family’s living and working situation is different. However, in my personal experience, I noticed that my overall mental and physical health improved significantly when doing school online. I definitely have more time to work on personal projects and interests. I am also more organized. If I would be able to choose to do remote learning for the rest of my life I would do it. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, there are a number of safety steps schools should take. No single one will completely eliminate COVID-19 risk, but together they can greatly reduce it.​ Returning to in-person learning is not one of the safety steps that can help. That is just my opinion, we all think and see this virus differently –Elma Mekic ‘22

In my opinion I’m very excited about in-school learning because staying at home has greatly affected my motivation to do work and as a result greatly affected my grades. My only concerns are how many kids will be in the building at once and how will the school ensure that every student is safe. Although this would be the perfect opportunity to get my grades together and get ready for college, I think this is still a great health risk since covid case numbers are still very high in the country let alone our state. I don’t know how lunch is going to work since it’s usually packed and kids need to take off masks to eat their food which is a risk in itself. People who are older in the building are also putting themselves at risk because as of right now the vaccine is not even required so that means some people are not safe from covid yet. There are also people who haven’t even taken the covid test yet, So how will selecting students to go in the school even work? I hope these questions are answered in the near future. Other than that I see this as the best opportunity for me to turn things around for myself and to start doing better in school and in life in general –Emmanuel Aubourg ‘22

Schools are now wanting to go back to school. February is the month where we are supposed to go back to school. Seniors have lost their whole senior year and I feel as though everyone accepted it already. Many people want to go back but there’s talk that most won’t go back. For me, I have changed my whole work schedule to fit with my at-home school. I have changed the time to go in sooner because I can just get ready for work at home during class. I have taken up more responsibility. I also babysit my cousin for his school as well. The possibility of us going back is strange. The cases have been rising and Everett is one of the highest cities with covid cases. With a small number of people in school, there have been 15 cases already. Now imagine a large number of people, especially teenagers. It’s dangerous. Many students have elders and people at risk at home so they won’t go back to school because of their safety. I don’t think that going back will change much, we will only be in school. We missed the whole year already, all of the events. It’s sad to say but it’s ruined and I don’t think there’s anything that can change or even better our senior year. I am appreciative to all the staff members that are coming together to try to save it for us but unfortunately, it is what it is. –Melany Fagundes ‘22

Returning back to school has honestly been a dream for all of us especially us seniors. All of us seniors have been waiting so patiently, and excitingly for this and now it feels like nothing. I don’t feel like a senior, I just feel like this is more of a “job” because I log in at 8 am, and log out by 2:30 pm. There’s no interacting with friends and teachers, there’s no speed walking down the hall to get the class before I get in trouble by a dean, there’s no being late to class because I was “at my locker” when in reality I was just gossiping with friends; all of that is gone. Going back to school seems like a far-fetched dream, and I truly want to but only if it is worth the risk. I am a visual and hands-on learner, I find that I learn the best when I am able to see, hear, touch, etc. I can’t do all of that by a zoom call. I feel bad for the teachers who will have no option of staying remote, because I know some will rather due to many reasons. I think I would go back just for the experience, and to maybe gain some of my senior year back. I hope all goes well, and we can make the best out of this situation –Karla Hernandez ‘22

I would love to go back to school! Slowly starting to get things back to normal is a good step forward. There are obviously safety concerns and whether it would be safe or not. I feel like if everyone is able to contribute to being safe, wear masks and social distance I don’t see why we shouldn’t go back. I miss being in the building and working with my teachers and classmates in-person. Learning remotely has been challenging and I feel like if we do go back it’ll help students learn more. I would choose to return because I prefer physically being in the building and learning in-person. I also want to go back because it’s my senior year. Missing out on seeing all my friends before we all go our separate ways is very sad. Also all the senior activities that we’ve missed, hopefully going back will allow us to have some events.I feel safe and I would hope if someone was sick they’d stay home. When/If we return the school will definitely look different. Desks will most likely be separated, the cafe will have the tables more spread apart, and us as a whole will have to adjust to wearing masks and maintaining 6ft distance from others. I really hope we do go back and that it’ll lead to more good than bad. –Isadora Pimenta ‘22

Remote learning has not been easy for anyone, especially if you get distracted easily. It’s easy to stay in bed and not want to do anything, to get on your phone and completely ignore your teacher, and stay on top of your work. Since we’re on computers almost the whole day, the thought of doing homework on your computer for another 2+ hours doesn’t sound appealing. As a senior, I have to make sure to keep my grades up and stay focused during class, which has been difficult because all I do is stare at the clock waiting for class to end. That sounds like the same thing I’d say if I was in school in person and I know many people would agree. Although remote learning is a lot more difficult than regular school because we’ve had to learn and adapt to the new “normal”, we still have the same basic problems. Waking up on time, getting distracted, spacing out, using your phone during class. The only difference is that we’re not in school in person. Don’t get me wrong I miss my friends a lot, but it’s not going to be the way it was when we left if we do go back to school. In my opinion, if you feel like you are doing really poorly doing school online, then you should go back. If you’re doing just fine and are keeping your grades up, then you should continue doing school online. We should all go back when it’s safe enough to go back and I do agree to have only some people go in first, I just don’t think I will be one of those first people because I’m doing well on online school. Plus, who wants to start getting up at 6am again? It’s too cold for that. –Cindy Hernandez ‘22

I am actually pretty excited to return back to school. I just hope that when we are allowed back that there are some rules set in place for our safety. I know for some they really enjoy remote learning but for people like me I feel like I need to be in class to actually focus on what’s going on. I liked remote learning in the beginning of the school year but after a while it just felt like my motivation wasn’t really there and attending class through a screen just didn’t feel right. But I’m very fond of the idea of doing hybrid learning. It sounds nice. Especially since this is my senior year I’d like to return to school a couple of times and then say goodbye by just graduating. I think some people feel that way too because to be completely honest I feel like the seniors have gotten so much taken away from them like prom we didn’t get to experience junior and senior year prom because of Covid so I feel like doing hybrid learning will make up for that time we missed all of those special events –Lorianne Rodriguez ‘22

I think personally that going after school would be a terrible idea totally because Everett is very risky when we talk about the covid matters and the fact that the establishment that we are supposed to go back to has a very good percentage of covid 19 cases. If we were reckoned to go back through school, this would presumably be better if it was made in the summertime simply cause we need circulated atmosphere and it necessitates to be spacious, and with this season we can be out and we can have an outstanding quantity of circulated and shifting air, the disadvantage with that would probably be that this would be bad for people that have hypersensitivities and would seemingly be considered as personages who might have the virus. Even with that said no it would be a particularly bad idea to go back to school and no I would prefer for myself to stay remote especially since I am at home now I can take care of responsibility that my mother would have not given to me since I was in school most of the time in the building. –Marc-Olivier Bazile ‘22

I would have to say for myself that I’d prefer staying home for the rest of the year so that the virus doesn’t get spread around and students and their families don’t have to face any unfortunate moments during this school year. But I will say going to school and being able to socialize with friends and people after staying indoors a lot more than usual can benefit us from going insane with all this free time and boredom the pandemic has brought to us. If you ask students what they miss about school the answers will all be usually the same answer which is seeing their friends and talking to teachers in person rather typing in a chat. Going to school can also help students learn better because there are so many distractions at home. I’d rather be in school because I can focus a lot better rather than being tired and sleepy and looking at things around my room to do like sleep or play video games or get off the laptop to get food. I hate waking up in the mornings so when it’s time for period one (I skip pod cause I like sleeping). I don’t want to pay attention and I’d just rather sleep and sometimes I accidentally wake up to a teacher calling my name. I like remote learning because I’m also comfortable at my house and I love my own food. I get to cook and I’m not usually bored for the most part.  –Christian Sola ‘22

I feel indifferent about this topic. As someone who desperately wants to go back to school, it has its pros and cons. I do like the idea that it is only seniors at first but I believe it should only be us for the rest of the year as we are the priority (as stated by the school.)  I believe that socially it would be great for our mental health as mental health has skyrocketed since quarantine and being able to shave that off your list of problems would feel amazing. Most students also work and learn better in an environment with people around them instead of over a network with low bandwidth and frozen teachers. I also do believe to make it as safe as possible that each student entering should get covid tested 72 hours prior so we deliver the safest environment. Cons, getting each student tested will be tough but the best way of doing things. I also believe only the ones willing to go back or allowed to go back by guardians should go not each and every one. Special groups like the medical internship students or STEM students shouldn’t have to be separated due to their last names as they depend on each and every one of each other. Having to work on intricate projects or group discussions is vital in both groups. I don’t know I just wish things were better. We all do. –Oscar Segovia ‘22