Blythewood High School students return to in-person learning for the first time this school year

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Lisa Ellis

Emma Horan, Writer

Students at Blythewood High School returned to school under a hybrid model, for the first time since March. On November 4, students with last names M-Z returned to school Wednesday and Thursday. Students with last names A-L returned to school the following Monday and Tuesday. 

The 2020-2021 school year has been broken up into three phases. In phase one all students remained online. In phase two, students who choose to return to school, returned for two days of the week and remained online for the other two days. Phase three is the return to school for five days a week. 

A little over half of students chose to return under the hybrid model, but a select group did choose to remain online. “I chose to remain online because I felt it’s unsafe to return and I learn better from online,” said Blythewood junior Sophie Carlton. “I chose to return to school because in-person learning works better for me and I’m excited about getting out of the house,” said Blythewood senior Micheal Grieb. 

Under the hybrid model, one group of students attends school for two days of the week and the other group attends school for the other two days. Students are only in the school building Monday through Thursday, and everyone does asynchronous learning from home on Friday’s. Parents were given the option to send their child back or have them continue doing online learning. 

Having students adjust to in-person learning after one-quarter of online learning was a new concept to many. “While I am excited about being in school, I am also nervous about making the adjustment from online learning to in-person learning” quotes Blythewood junior Emma Horan. Students have not participated in any in-person learning since the closure of schools in March. 

Teachers and students must follow new protocols to ensure everyone is safe. Students and teachers are required to wear a face mask the whole school day, as well as practice social distancing. The hallways are also only one way to prevent too many people from making contact. Classes are also significantly smaller due to the divided days students attend school. 

Teachers and administrators are having to take on a new role in enforcing these safety procedures. Teachers also have to adapt to teaching to a classroom of kids as well as online students. “Making the transition from online learning to in-person teaching has been challenging, but it excites me to see faces in the classroom again” reported Blythewood math teacher Mrs. Stoltenberg when asked about the return to school.  

The 2020-2021 school year is certainly different from most due to these unprecedented times. Students and teachers are trying to maintain optimism about the opening of school and phase two. Depending on the virus, it is possible schools could be moved back to phase one before continuing to phase three.