Students learned inside the high school Jan. 19 for the first time since last March.
Students who chose the hybrid learning option returned to the high school in two groups. Those whose last names start with letters A-K are considered group A and attend class onsite on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Group A is followed by group B, which comprises students whose last names start with letters L-Z, who attend class onsite Thursdays and Fridays.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students attend first, third, fifth and seventh period classes. They attend second, fourth, sixth, and eighth period classes on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Every classroom is equipped with disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, and some rooms that lack windows have air purifiers. Three-sided clear plastic dividers are attached to desks that are six feet apart to abide by proper social distancing protocols.
For the hybrid model to be safe as possible it’s important for every student, teacher, and staff member to abide by the school’s guidelines. “My only concerns were how mature people were going to be with the masks and just staying safe,” junior Margaux Girard said.
“First hearing about hybrid, I thought it would be like normal school, but with fewer people and masks. But when I heard about how the desks would be arranged and the plastic dividers, I thought it was overkill and would be like staying online except I had to go to school. And I wasn’t as excited anymore,” sophomore Benjamin Jamal said.
For students such as freshman Megan Spring, this is their first year attending the high school. “Before now, I had never gone to a Shaker school, and I didn’t know what to expect. I was a little nervous seeing how big the school was, and the whole situation was very overwhelming,” said Spring, who attended Gesu.
Once the semester began, Jamal said returning to school wasn’t as bad as he thought it would be. “It’s nice to be in school and talk to teachers and classmates again, and I definitely enjoy it over staying at home,” he said.
One common concern among students was if everyone would follow the school’s guidelines. “Everyone seemed to respect and abide by the COVID rules that have been put in place, and I think the school did a very good job under the circumstances they were in,” Spring said.
“When I actually went to school, I was right that it felt really weird, but I did feel pretty safe, especially when my teachers had their windows open,” sophomore Maggie Senturia said.
Teachers have refrained from handing out hard copies of work to students to limit contact and spread. Almost all work is being done online with students’ Chromebooks. “If I’m being honest, going hybrid just didn’t feel like that much of an improvement in many classes. Some of my teachers just had me join the meet like usual, and it was clear that I could have done the same thing from home,” Senturia said.
Learning remotely did not come as easy to some students as it did others, and for those who struggled, going back to school in person was essential. “For me, I need to be in school to learn because I can’t process information online. I am just happy to be back, and I’ve noticed how safe and smart the school is with keeping track of things like who’s going to which bathroom, contact tracing, the lunch room,” Girard said.
“I think Shaker has done an appropriate job at keeping everyone safe and I think students have been good about going back and wearing masks,” she said.
Said Spring, “As soon as I got out of the car on the first day, I felt welcome, and seeing Mr. Juli’s smiling face relieved some of my nerves. I’ve always seen Shaker as such a community, and finally going in-person and not only seeing people’s faces through a computer screen reminded me how united Shaker really is.”