Hybrid Plan Hits Highs and Lows in Second Semester

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Ben Webber, Staff Writer

After months of e-learning, protests, and meetings, District 200 introduced a plan to get students back to in-person learning: the hybrid plan. After the announcement of the hybrid plan, controversy around the idea struck. Despite people’s views on covid, politics, or school, it is evident that the hybrid plan has many pros and cons. 

The hybrid plan consists of full school days (7:20 A.M.-2:15 P.M.) with half of the students attending class online and half of the students actually in the building attending classes. On Wednesdays, everybody is online and asynchronous, which means students will come to school at most twice a week. Although being in the building helps get kids involved, it makes it difficult to get into a routine. It’s effective in the sense that students are more productive when they are in the building, but on the contrary makes them feel like their e-learning days are “days off” when the district e-learning expectation is higher. 

Another restriction introduced in the hybrid plan is wearing a mask the entire school day. This is a predictable precaution due to covid, and is strictly enforced by the WWS staff. When talking about masks during school, although they help to decrease the spread of covid, they make the school experience less enjoyable. The entire school day is a long time to keep it on, and due to the fact that students have the option to do school from their homes, they may choose to do that solely because of the mask option. The masks not only affect the students, but they make life much more difficult for the teachers. A simple lecture, for example, might take twice the effort than it usually would due to the articulation or breathing difficulties brought forth from speaking into a mask. 

The one time students are allowed to take their masks off is during lunch. They are allowed to eat lunch with 1 other person, and they must be 6 feet apart. The students are still able to sit near 5-6 people and speak fine. However, if they wanted a bigger table, they would have to yell to communicate. Grace DeMars, a student at WWS participating in the hybrid plan, said,”It definitely takes some fun out of having lunch at school, because you can’t sit with a big table like in the past. It could be worse, though.”

On the topic of social distancing, another restriction enforced in the hybrid plan is students being required to keep social distance with friends in the hallways. This rule is effective if it is done by all, but unfortunately it is impossible to completely enforce. This part of the hybrid plan is not very effective because conversating before, during, and after school is almost a habit at this point for many, and there are not enough teachers to enforce the rule well enough. Senior at WWS, Kaden Lanier, said,”It’s basically impossible for me to pass by my friends in the hallway and not interact with them. I’m not sure if I will ever be able to get used to that.”

The most controversial part of the entire hybrid plan is the cancelation of athletics (other than golf and tennis, as athletes can play those sports socially distanced). For many students, athletics is their one and only motivation to go to school or maintain good grades. With this schedule leaving out athletics, it leaves many students unmotivated to have any consistent attendance or good grades, as in their mind there will be no punishment for it without sports. This negatively affects me personally as well because it is much more difficult to sit through the whole school day without something like that to look forward to. 

Being a very controversial plan, there are many pros and cons of getting students back into the building. After review, I would personally give the hybrid plan a 5/10 due to all of the restrictions and the fact that the plan ended up failing. Although it seemed like a decent approach to get students back to in-person learning, the cons of this plan outnumber the pros.