EHS plans to return to a hybrid learning model

Caroline Seiler, page editor

Earlier this month, Superintendent John Schultz sent an email to Edina Public Schools families and staff announcing that grades 6-12 will return to a hybrid learning model given safe conditions. The return is targeted for Feb. 16, alarming some who feel that it is too soon and pleasing others who are hoping to get back in the classroom.

There are many pros and cons to going back to a hybrid model, but a big change from a complete distance learning to a hybrid model that could go unnoticed is the organization. With every Edina High School student learning from home, there is only one schedule. “The stress level of hybrid, of doing three things [is high]…. Online learning is at least one thing for the entire group,” French teacher Kimberly Caster said. It is easier to have everyone online rather than have three different cohorts of students: A, B, and Edina Virtual Academy (EVA). 

Even if the full distance learning is more organized, it is harder to teach to students at home, especially for language classes, which have curriculums that heavily rely on speaking and interactive lessons. “The challenge is I don’t feel like you get the same connection with kids through a Google Meet than you do with some kids in the classroom,” Caster said. However, some students think that remote learning was actually unorganized. “Teachers were a lot more clear [about schedules] when it was hybrid,” senior Diya Jain said. 

During the pandemic, many students have found new struggles of going to school at home. “The motivation and stress is overwhelming,” junior Karen Lee said. Lee will be an EVA student as we move back into hybrid in February, and she was also an EVA student this past fall. She is “keeping the bubble small” in effort to stay safe during a pandemic. Jain though, will be returning to school in person for her last semester of high school. “I would much rather be in school for the end of the year because it’s my last semester,” Jain said. When it comes to the motivation in a hybrid learning model, “it’s nice to leave your house and have a schedule,” Jain said.  

Parents and teachers are also concerned about what the effects of remote learning could do to students in the present and future. “You just get a better education when you are in person,” Jain said. It is also a matter of how well the students learn in person and at home. “I think kids are more successful when they’re learning a language in person… You can rebuild that atmosphere and that experience,” Caster said. Nevertheless, some students also thrive at home, especially if they are worried about being around too many people during the day. “For the current situation I feel like online learning is like a really good substitute and the teachers have done a really good job to help us to do our best,” Lee said.