Both students and teachers at Notre Dame Prep have thoughts and concerns about the hybrid schedule, because it is such a change from what they are normally used to. The hybrid schedule went into effect on Sept. 8, 2020, after rigorous work by faculty and staff.
Juby Luensmann, one of the math teachers at NDP, has to keep students well spaced out, yet still create an interactive environment between students in the classroom and students attending class online. All of the desks face towards the integrated whiteboard, so that the students can see each other, as well as the material. “I have been teaching for 22 years and this distance learning has made me feel like this is my first year of teaching,” Luensmann said. One of the biggest concerns for teachers is the amount of participation and collaboration students can achieve while social distancing.
Teachers altogether agree that the new hybrid schedule is more organized and effective than the emergency online schedule last Spring. Students are now able to learn again, since they are attending an actual class, either in person or online. Even though hybrid is a better option, not everybody is happy about it.
Students have their own, non-educational concerns about the new hybrid schedule, including those from NDP sophomore Eva Gruetzmacher. “The new schedule is preventing me from seeing a lot of my closest friends,” said Gruetzmacher. Classes can have as little as five people, when most students are used to seeing 20+ people in each of their classrooms. “More than half of my friends have a different schedule than I do,” Gruetzmacher said.
For students, the most anticipated and fun part about going to school is seeing your friends and socializing with them. The new schedule has made this difficult, and many students aren’t pleased, including Drew Down, sophomore at NDP. “It’s similar to online school, but we have to wake up earlier,” said Down.
Students understand that these steps have to be taken before being able to revert to pre-coronavirus norms. “The idea of being able to go back to school as normal is what keeps me happy during the online and hybrid schedules,” Down said.
Although the new hybrid schedule has lots of positive aspects, it has negative aspects too. Teachers are happy to see their students again, and students are happy to see some of their peers. However, the hardships the teachers endure and the lack of social interaction between students, is far from ideal. The hybrid schedule is quite the change from what students and teachers are used to, but it is at least a step in the right direction towards regular schooling.