The Highs and Lows of Hybrid
For those of us on the hybrid model, we are physically attending school for about as much time as we did in preschool. In some ways, this laid-back schedule feels too good to be true. For those in the AM cohort, 11:07 has become the new 3:02, with the school day ending after only half a day. For those in the PM cohort, 12:33 is the new 8:30 and what used to be the long haul to 3:02 is now a breeze. Whether you attend class according to the AM, PM, full day, or completely remote class schedule, your situation definitely feels different, and with it comes many new pros and cons.
When it comes to getting ready in the morning, the students in the AM cohort definitely have it the hardest. The PM and fully remote students don’t have to worry about actually getting to school in the morning, adding invaluable minutes to their alarm times. Also, for those who want to attend morning extra help sessions, wake-up times are even earlier. The real jackpot though, especially if you are an AM student, is to have nothing scheduled for Block A. If we’re being completely honest, any time-efficient PM or virtual student just rolls out of bed, maybe scrambles to eat a quick breakfast, throws on a hoodie and opens up the Meet in a span of about ten minutes. And while that extra time lying in bed is nice, the virtual AM kids know that cutting it close and then stumbling into a host of technical difficulties isn’t the best start to a day either. As one AM student put it, “I get my day started with energy. I feel awake by the time I start online school in the afternoon, whereas in the spring I was exhausted in the morning because I had just rolled out of bed.”
The transition period is a break for all of us; a siesta of sorts. For most of us, though, the “transition” period extends well beyond Blocks C and D. Because they lack an official lunch period, which may result in their getting extra free periods or because they have Band or Chorus most day, some students have almost three-hour breaks between the morning and afternoon. Without the need to travel to and from school, fully remote students accumulate even more unscheduled time. The new schedule has definitely brought its challenges, but it’s also made some parts of our day-to-day high school routines much easier and more relaxed.
For the PM students, ending the day without worrying about mics, cameras, backgrounds, wifi, and all the other aspects of remote learning feels like a treat. Still, it’s weird to first walk in the door of a classroom at 1:30 in the afternoon. Again, it’s different, but by no means is it terrible.
We also all know that being virtual, at any part of that day, has its unfortunate drawbacks. Whenever a teacher calls on you, you experience that awkward half-second of tension as your cursor struggles to get that white bar with the unmute button to appear. Picturing your in-person peers, rolling their eyes at your technical difficulties doesn’t even make your computer go any faster. And, any time you speak, it feels like you’re definitely interrupting someone, either in class or on the Meet with you.
The restroom situation is a whole other topic to discuss. In school, personally, I was hesitant to use the restroom when everything was normal, but in-school bathroom use has decreased even further during the pandemic. If you’re virtual and in a class, do you still have to ask to go? I mean it’s your bathroom, right? One friend of mine thought that he didn’t have to ask, and, so, he turned his camera and mic off to use his bathroom quickly. Little did he know, moments after he departed his desk, his teacher asked him to turn his mic and camera back on. The conversation when he returned wasn’t one either party ever thought they would have to have.
Other problems arise while trying to complete homework after a long day of hybrid learning. “One time,” Nirvaan Nagaldinne (‘23) recalls, “my dog took my notes that were laying on the floor. Luckily, I didn’t need them, but they were covered with saliva when I found them.” Next thing he knew, he was wrangling the notes out of his dog’s mouth, just moments away from actually having a real “my dog ate my homework” incident. By now, we’ve all had our own versions of awkward remote school moments like these.
The virtual model is worlds better than it was in the spring. And while it may be for just two and a half hours, if that, it’s very nice to have the option to physically attend school. No matter what model you’re in, it requires some adapting. There’s no question that an Edgemont High School day in 2020 lacks the all-day intensity that it used to have, but I don’t think many of us are complaining.