The California color coded Covid tier system ranges from purple (widespread outbreak) , red (substantial), orange (moderate), and yellow (minimal). A county must have a certain amount of cases for two weeks in order to move up or down a tier. Once cases in Sacramento county cases decreased and we made it to the red […]
The California color coded Covid tier system ranges from purple (widespread outbreak) , red (substantial), orange (moderate), and yellow (minimal). A county must have a certain amount of cases for two weeks in order to move up or down a tier. Once cases in Sacramento county cases decreased and we made it to the red tier, many schools in the Sacramento area implemented a hybrid schedule which features online and in-person learning.
The Hyflex schedule started at Christian Brothers on October 20th. Half of the students are on campus with strict social distancing rules and the other half remain online. The students are divided into three cohorts which are called A, B, and C. A and B cohorts go to school for two days and then two online. Cohort C is only online for the rest of the semester.
The teachers of CB have continuously adapted to the amount of changes and problems that occur with this new format. Some difficulties include keeping track of students who are supposed to come in to school, technical difficulties with the students online, and making the students online feel involved as well.
It is a struggle for some teachers to manage both the virtual class and people in person. This is because teachers have to keep both sides engaged in class activities and it is hard to keep track of those online. There is more responsibility put on the students who are online as sometimes it may be difficult to pay attention since there are so many distractions at home.
“Its a little hard just because you’re still trying to keep everyone home engaged and have them still get the same attention,” says Human Anatomy and Physiology teacher Dr. Bill Iliff ‘76. “The biggest thing is the technology doesn’t seem to keep up with as much as we like to. We’d like to deliver a more robust education to students at home.”
“It is a little difficult because it’s hard paying attention to the students that are virtual as well as students in the classroom” says English instructor Mrs. Annie Vanenburg. “While full online, it was easy to tell if a student was still there. But now it’s a little hard keeping track of them. On the other hand, the kids that are learning virtually they need to be more responsible”.
With the excitement of students returning, Dr. Iliff continues to give the same amount of attention towards students online and in class. Even through the difficulties of online learning, he believes teachers are able to give a robust education to the students.
“Whether you are at home or school, it is important that everybody gets a solid class everyday and that you really give a good effort and try hard to give them a good class session” Dr. Iliff says.
For teachers, it is important to see students in person as it builds a relationships. The teacher can see how a student behaves, how a student works, and just have a casual conversation with the student. But the Hyflex schedule creates a few difficulties in building relationships as numerous students are fully online for this semester.
“I would prefer the Hyflex because it’s nice to see the kids at school,” Dr. Iliff says. “For the teachers, there are two motivations. We really enjoy teaching our subjects. But the bigger motivation at CB are the students. We truly miss seeing all the students in person since they mean so much to us as teachers,”
“There are positives to both of them. I prefer the Hyflex even though it’s tough just because I am making more connections with student,” Mrs Vanenburg says. “Before, there was no one on campus and I’d be walking out the door. It just felt wrong because students are suppose to be here. It is not about the adults — it is about the students. The campus feels more alive now and more ideas are exchanged within a classroom than it was virtual.”
On a daily basis, teachers and students continue to struggle with issues online. One problem occurred at the beginning of the year. Five days a week students would have to check in and do assignments for seven classes. This made students stare at a screen for hours and stress over large amounts of work. To abide with the students, Mondays are now a day for students where they do not have to go to meetings for class. Other struggles may include problems such as a student’s WiFi not working, screens not being able to be shared by the teachers, and microphone issues.
“By the end of my class I try to give my students a little break,” Dr. Iliff says. “If they’re at school, they can talk to their friends and at home they have a couple minutes to get away from the screen. I don’t want students to be overwhelmed by being on a screen too much. I try to be respectful to their time and the time on their computer. I can imagine that being so exhausting.”
The teachers have high hopes for next semester that more students will be coming to school. It will be easier for teachers to be there for the students and create relationships. They are encouraging those to come back but still respect the student’s decision on staying home whether it is for safety reasons or prefer to be online. The decisions for students next semester all depend on how the Coronavirus will respond during this harsh winter.
“I am hearing some students want to finish this semester and saying they’ll come back next semester, so I hope that is the case,” Dr. Iliff says. “I think that we’re built on relationships, and I think that we can be better teachers because we can see the student directly and see how they are progressing or struggling and address that. One of the hallmarks of our school is that we try to differentiate how we teach so we can reach all the ways students learn. Some learn by activities, by writing, by listening, working with their hands. It’s hard to assess when students are home”.
“I think it depends on the age,” Mrs. Vanenburg says. “I feel more freshmen are coming than seniors.”
The Hyflex schedule creates a balance for students and teachers to go online and to school. With the new schedule, teachers and students will continuously encounter problems due to technology but hopefully can adapt and easily fix these problems within the future. Teachers are now able to build relationships with those who go to school and easily assess the students to see if they are struggling or need any help. By next semester, students should be encouraged to go to school, especially freshmen meeting new people and adjust to campus and seniors spending their last time at Christian Brothers.