Updates About the Return to Campus

Opinions About the Hybrid Schedule

Abigail Frank, Journalist

Riverside County announced the possibility of returning to school a few weeks ago. However, on October 20, the county announced, through a newsletter, that we returned to the purple zone. The purple zone, otherwise known as Tier 1, indicates a widespread of Coronavirus. Over 8% of the tests administered for COVID-19 were positive within the last week.

Therefore, high schools will not be returning to school on November 2, as planned. Although there is a possibility of returning to school three weeks from October 20, The Board of Education wishes to hold off a physical return to learning until the new year. This is most likely because three weeks from October 2o, is just before the peak of flu season.

Even though students are not allowed to return to in person learning as scheduled, school athletics are still allowed to continue conditioning practices with safety precautions in place. Specific details about the return of winter and spring sports to campus will be sent out at a different date.

The schedule that was planned for the return to campus, before our purple tier status was announced, raised some controversy. There were many different opinions from both the students and teachers. But the opinions from students were mostly the same. The schedule is ridiculous.

This is the hybrid schedule model for high school students. (CNUSD School District)

The new schedule for high school students involves four different cohorts. Students will attend school on their assigned cohort day. The rest of the student body won’t attend school until the afternoon in the current online format. All students will attend school in the remote platform on Fridays.

A junior at ERHS, Ryan, is enrolled in five Advanced Placement classes. He said that with this hybrid schedule, his learning time in these rigorous classes will be limited. “By limiting the time with a teacher to either 60 minutes or 48 minutes, students, like myself, lose valuable time in class,” he commented. He would like to go back to in person learning, but not using this schedule. “There are too many unknown questions that have to be answered.”

Another student, James Zhang, a senior at ERHS, thought the hybrid schedule could be improved tremendously. He thought that one of the main benefits of this schedule was better structured test taking. James doesn’t want to return to school using this proposed hybrid schedule. He explained that, “it not only cuts instruction time, which is extremely valuable for AP courses. In addition, it would place burden on the teachers as they will be forced to produce multiple versions of tests.”

Another senior, Vincent, explained that the division between online learning and in person learning would slow down the speed of classes. But he would love to go back in person learning, he misses everything about school. He understands however, that “we simply cannot go back to normal.” The normal has changed since March, when school was moved to an online format. Vincent would also like to share that he “appreciates all the teachers and staff for doing their best through these circumstances.”

A sophomore student, Nicholas, explained that the hybrid schedule is really just confusing for everybody. He also did not think going back using this schedule was beneficial. He discussed the downfalls of this schedule. “Going back only once a week will end up confusing people, messing up teacher’s schedules, and making it more stressful to handle the split between online and in person learning.” He also thought returning to school for one day was not worth the possible COVID-19 outbreak that could occur. He does wish to return to school, but would like to wait until there is a better schedule in place to do so.

One teacher also shared her opinion about the hybrid schedule. Mrs. Farina, a Honors Chemistry and AP Chemistry teacher on campus, didn’t mind the schedule itself, “but was very disappointed with how much our instructional minutes were cut down.” She explained that teachers are being encouraged to only focus on essential topics. However, with her AP Chemistry courses, she is not able to do this. College Board is not adjusting standards to accommodate for the new online learning format, so Mrs. Farina still needs to teach all the curriculum.

Mrs. Farina also thought that this schedule may not benefit the students with their learning, but it will give them an opportunity to see other students, get out of their houses, and meet their teachers in person. She would love to go back to school, but realizes we have to be realistic about our new normal. “The hybrid schedule and policies that are being put in place to move forward with [students returning to campus] seem unreasonable to me and will cause more stress than it is worth.”

If we do go back with this hybrid schedule, Mrs. Farina explained that she will keep her workload and routine the same as it is right now. She will use the in person class time to do lab activities. For example, teaching students how to light a Bunsen Burner. However, like most teachers, she would prefer to stick to an online format than move to a hybrid schedule. “Many students and teachers have finally found their routine and to completely upend all that progress is frustrating.”

Overall, the students and teachers think the hybrid model schedule needs to be improved in some way before we return to campus. Now that the return to in person learning has been postponed, there is time to make possible changes to the hybrid schedule or formulate a new plan.