Teachers and Students Share Mixed Feelings about Hybrid

Mrs. Ruoffs room set up with desks spaced for hybrid learning.

Photo Courtesy of Audrey Ruoff

Mrs. Ruoff’s room set up with desks spaced for hybrid learning.

Anna Porter, Staff Writer

The Crofton community has been wanting a Crofton High School for decades and on March 8 students will step foot into the school for the first time.

As March quickly approaches Crofton High School is preparing to send students back starting with 9th graders on March 8 and 10th graders on March 22. But not all students will be returning. While some are eager to get back to school, others are more cautious and will be staying virtual. Crofton High School teachers went back to school last Wednesday to start getting ready for students to return.

AP US History teacher Mr. Todd Smith shared that, “I am eager to get back in person, I am eager to see kids, I’m eager to have that interaction because I really thrive off of a classroom environment.” Virtual learning has been hard for students, but it has also been hard on teachers. Another reason Mr. Smith is eager to go back is because “it is very hard in the virtual world to be able to gage how a class is thinking or what they’re thinking. It is much better doing that in person so I am very much looking forward to doing that.”

Chorus teacher Ms. Briana Gresko said she looks forward to seeing students. She said “I am a little nervous but overall the thought of seeing everybody makes me really excited.” Despite being in person, chorus classes have been told that they are not able to sing during hybrid instruction.

Ms. Gresko shared that “We are still awaiting guidance from the county regarding our ability to sing and perform and right now we do not have the green light to sing when we are in person.” Even though things might not look the same as they did pre-pandemic, “everyone is going to continue to work hard to provide the best educational experience.”

Just as many teachers are looking forward to returning to the classroom, students are as well. Freshman Madi Knoppel will be returning to school for hybrid learning. She made the decision to come back because “I personally learn better in person because learning online hasn’t been my strong suit, it is hard to really pick up what everybody is saying and retaining the information in general.”

Knoppel is worried about exposure because students are not getting vaccinated but she is optimistic about what being in person will be like. Knoppel shared “I think that I will get more out of in-person learning because I learn better when I can actually hear what the teacher is saying and ask questions because I feel like asking questions over google meet is scary sometimes”

Another student coming back in person is freshman Kira Tilton. She is excited to be able to get more help from teachers. Tilton shared that she can ask questions in virtual school but in person, she feels like it is easier for the teacher to really understand what she is asking when she can physically show them.

While she is looking forward to going back there are some aspects of virtual learning that she will miss. She is going to miss, “the convenience of sleeping late and being able to turn your camera off so no one has to see you.” But she is hopeful that it will be easier to focus in person compared to virtual. Tilton said, “Virtual school has been really hard because for me it is super hard to focus like when I am by myself in my room with all the things I like to do. I could just go over to my piano whenever I want and there isn’t anything stopping you from doing that.” 

Sophomore Caitlin Fish is super excited to get back in person. She shared “I think for me I am glad to actually get to meet my teachers in real life and get to talk to them in real-time. I’m also very excited to see the new school building.” Freshman Megan Howarth also can’t wait  to get back to school because she is “finally able to become less of a procrastinator due to the lack of distractions as there is online.”

While some students are thrilled to get back to school as soon as possible, other students are being more cautious.

Sophomore Ashley Ewing will continue virtual learning. Ewing shared that “I feel like it is safer and I would be worried that one kid would get COVID, you will have this big transition, and then have to go back which for me isn’t worth it.” Ewing also shared that “I also have a lot of high-risk family members.” But she is worried about how teachers are going to handle having kids in person and online.

Ewing said, “I am a little bit concerned about how the teachers are going to engage the students online as well as in-class because we all know it is easier to teach a group of students in person.” All in all, Ewing believes that “I don’t think virtual school works for everyone but for my learning styles it works really well.”

Freshman Ava Frederick will be continuing virtual school as well. Frederick said that the health concerns were a big part of her decision to stay virtual. “I know at the middle school the hallways were tiny so transferring classes will be hard. I am interested to see how everything goes.”

She does not believe that the risks of going back are worth it, “For example, if one kid got Covid we would have to quarantine for 14 days and I would not be able to go to dance class or anything for those 14 days.” Also “during lunch breaks, you’re stuck in a classroom but if I am at my house I can call my friends and talk to them even if they are not in the same class as me.” During lunch in hybrid, students must stay with their third-period classes and teachers to eat. 

There are different opinions on going back to school because everybody has had their own experience with virtual learning. But whether students decide to go in person or stay virtual, there are sure to be changes and adjustments as everyone navigates the new schedule.