• Sydney Floch, Nicole Orlofsky

Hybrid vs. Remote Learning: How Students Feel

As the seemingly endless summer drew to a close, GHS students were faced with a daunting question: should they pursue hybrid school or full-remote learning? It was a difficult decision, and now that students are weeks into the school year, some are wondering whether they made the right choice. The Beak interviewed two students, one in remote and one in hybrid learning, to shed light on the reasons behind their choices and the satisfaction they have with their learning styles.

An at-home student workspace (Photo credit: Nicole Orlofsky)

Zara, a remote learning student, told us that she chose to take her classes fully online because she is afraid of contracting COVID-19. Her fears were amplified after the school sent out an email notifying that someone had gotten the virus a few weeks ago.

After receiving that email, she said, “That announcement only made me appreciate my decision even more.” She also said that she was pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of Google Meets in connecting students, allowing them to participate in class and meet their peers.

Despite the reassurances about her decision, she also noted there were some downsides to this new style. She explained that there are sometimes technical issues like echoing noises, which can disrupt learning. Zara also believes that teachers should check the chat function more frequently, because they often miss important questions.

Zara wakes up around 7:35 instead of 6 a.m. She then sits at her desk, joining classes and doing work until lunch, and then attends the rest of her classes. However, she spends the majority of her time at a desk doing her work, which is a big adjustment from last year.

Furthermore, Zara said she feels a little more distant from her teachers: “It is only the first few weeks, so maybe things will change. But, for now, I just feel like a number to them. However, I don’t think it would be much different due to the fact that it is still the beginning of the year.”

Annie, a hybrid learning student, was happy to be given the option to learn in person half the time, but expressed some frustration about the stark differences from the beginning of the previous year. Last year, Annie had the ability to socialize with her peers in the Student Center before class. However this year, she goes directly to class, which she finds somewhat frustrating. Annie also mentioned her disappointment regarding the new lunch system, saying that it is a “mess,” and “[the faculty] need[s] to work on it.”

Annie said, “...not everyone is social distancing, and some people don’t care…because of hybrid, you don’t always know when your friends have lunch.” In the Student Center, students are divided into two spots for lunch by tape on the ground. Some students in first lunch are reprimanded for sitting with students in second lunch indoors, nor are there any lunch tables to sit at. Students sit in desks and must face forward; this is to prevent the spread of the virus if a student has their mask off to eat during lunch. Outside, however, there are some new lunch tables around campus where students can sit and eat with their masks off, as long as they stay six feet apart.

Annie went on to disclose her concerns about not being able to participate in certain clubs due to the omission of Opportunity Block (OB) this year. Students are unable to meet in person after school, aside from sports and intramural activities.

Annie said, “There are clubs I would want to be a part of, but there’s no opportunity to do them.” Since several students have jobs, extracurricular activities and other occupations after school, it may be strenuous trying to fit an after-school club into their schedule. Clubs are trying to adapt to this new age by meeting virtually, but this makes it difficult for remote and hybrid students to socialize with one another.

Students are now beginning the third month of this new learning, and many are unsure if they made the right choice. There are some benefits to this year’s change in education style, such as getting to sleep in later and occasionally attending virtual classes in school-appropriate pajamas. However, students overall seem to be lacking the social connection with their peers and teachers that make high school memorable. In a year where nothing is normal, and we have learned to expect the unexpected, we are all still adapting to this strange school experience. Whether you’re at home or at school, this year will surely be one for the history books.

Both interviewees opted to not have their last names published.

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