New Hybrid Plans

Hybrid+students+eat+a+socially+distanced+lunch

Hybrid students eat a socially distanced lunch

After a long year of uncertainty, the school board has decided to allow students to come back to school four days a week starting on the 12th of April. Many students have strong opinions for or against this new action and many say that they won’t change which version of school they’ve been attending just because the school board changed their policy.

A form was sent out to Riverbend students asking about their plans for how they will attend school after this new plan is put into action. Of the students who filled it out, about 60% have come back to school hybrid this year and 40% decided to stay virtual. Most of the virtual students say they won’t come back to school when the four day plan is put into place. “I’ve already started to adapt to being fully virtual so readjusting to the old program so quickly along with the additional changes would just be a hindrance to deal with in the middle of everything that’s going on,” says sophomore Hannah Danes. Many other virtual students said their safety and their families safety are major factors in their decision to stay virtual. They don’t want to risk getting sick or bringing any sicknesses back home to their loved ones. Students that have been coming to school hybrid are excited for the increase in class sizes and most are planning on staying hybrid after the increase of in person days.

Students were also asked about their opinions on this new plan and again, many had very strong opinions for or against it. “I think that the plan to allow students to come back 4 days a week is a good idea. I think it will make classrooms more interactive and social for those physically attending, which is especially important considering it’s the primary reason why most students are there,” senior Hayley Helman says. Many other students say that going back four days a week will only cause more problems in school and in the community. “I think it’s too soon for something like that since the majority of the population is not vaccinated so the virus will continue to spread and potentially [affect] more people,” junior Asher Martin-Jordan states. Whether or not students will get vaccinated is a big deciding factor for students who are thinking about returning to school.

Most people during this pandemic have been hopeful for a return to a somewhat “normal” lifestyle. Students were asked if returning to school four days a week was a step in the right direction towards normality and their opinions followed this same trend of polarization. Some students, including freshman Aryanna Tovar, believe that this change is only going to bring us farther away from normality. “Whether we like it or not, things are not normal and they won’t be normal until this pandemic is gone. I believe it does not help when we keep trying to force things to be normal by doing things we did before the pandemic, when in reality, all it does is spike Covid cases. ‘Normal’ is not a thing right now and I believe that just needs to be accepted,” Tovar states. Other students believe that by allowing students to come back four days a week, the school board is showing that they are able to keep students safe even during times of crisis. “It’s normalizing being out of our homes and really pushes those who are living in fear to come back [to school]. We have several safety protocols, way more than stores and restaurants, so it’s not like we’re doing something super dangerous by coming back,” says junior Hannah Lowery. 

A normal school year has been one of the many everyday things that was taken away from people because of the pandemic. This year, we’ve gone from being completely online, to going in person two days a week, and now to going in four days a week. Students have been very flexible with these changing times and have shown their differing opinions on these constant changes.