Fauquier Students Prepare to Return to Hybrid Learning


Photo Courtesy of ViewSonic

Since the end of winter break, both students and teachers have been questioning the Fauquier County Public Schools Division on how the return to hybrid will work; considering that the pandemic is still going on, the number of COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing, and new strains of the virus are making their way into the United States. Just in the first few weeks of the 3rd semester, hybrid has made its return. This leaves students the option of either staying one-hundred percent virtual, or coming back into school with fragmented schedules.

“Personally, hybrid is not something I’m willing to work with, given how there’s a pandemic. I’d rather play it safe. Of course, I’m aware that other people work differently and it’s really difficult to do classes virtually, and that’s okay if you can’t do it all online. For me, I’m rather flexible and adaptable with this stuff.  I can’t speak for everybody when I say hybrid is a bad idea or not, but what I can say is that we can’t really trust how responsible others will be about hybrid and going in person. Going into hybrid is not something I’m willing to do until the pandemic is finally over.” said senior Carlos Ferrufino.

Some students who chose to remain one-hundred-percent virtual during the last semester have made the decision to return to school once again. However, this raises some questions: How do students and staff feel about the return of hybrid? Do they think it’s risky bringing students and staff members back into the public domain again? Do they think it’s a better option to come back?

The Fauquier County Public Schools Division have always kept safety as their number one priority. With COVID-19 guidelines in place and fragmented schedules to limit the amount of students in each classroom, it is less likely that any students or staff members will contract the virus.

“I feel confident about our hybrid model, and we are looking forward to welcoming students back into our school buildings. We just need the right health metrics in place to make this happen.” Superintendent Terry Alban said in a statement regarding the hybrid system.

Some examples of the precautions include wiping down each desk after each class with sanitary wipes, mandating the wearing of face masks that cover the face and nose, washing hands regularly, spreading desks further apart from each other, and sending those showing symptoms home for quarantine.

Some students feel Hybrid was a good idea, but failed to facilitate the safety that was initially promised.

“I personally believe that hybrid is a good idea. But in practice, it’s been shown to basically not work as it was intended. Hybrid is great on the mental health and state of students. I know many people and of course myself who have struggled with the online change and the mental state it puts us in. So hybrid does help that, we can actually see our friends, interact with people and teachers, and have some of that ‘high school’ vibe and feeling. But the issue is that the hybrid model isn’t working on the COVID department. COVID-19 is still a threat and people (especially staff) are getting it in our school even with the right precautions. It seems as though hybrid is slowly failing but keeping us safe from COVID-19. Yes, it helps with the students mental health and state. But it’s really putting the students and more importantly the older staff and teachers at risk. Yes, mask are required and so is six feet. But in the end, one little student who doesn’t care about washing his hand makes all those safety precautions and regulations all go down the drain. I believe the hybrid model works for student health, But in a way, it also doesn’t since COVID is still running around the school. hybrid should be revamped and remade to make it Safer for everyone!” said junior Estuardo Coto.

“I, personally, don’t really feel hybrid is a good idea right now, especially considering 3 staff members have gotten COVID already. I decided to stay virtual because I have two immediate family members that are high risk, and I’ve been doing great virtually! I understand some people have had difficulty with learning virtually, so it makes sense the school would give us the choice of hybrid again so quickly, but I think I speak for everyone when I say I wish things would just completely go back to normal.” Said Paige Adams, a sophomore who has gone through hybrid.

Others are simply thankful to be back in school, in an environment that helps them learn better. That could be for many reasons, including the physical interaction, socialization, or lack of internet-related issues.

“I’d say it’s for the best since students have been stuck at home since March and it’s good to finally get back into the swing of things. It’s another good thing that students can actually have in-person help since virtually it can be difficult due to computers lagging and having poor connection.” said senior Jacob Blair.

The general consensus is that the hybrid model has a lot of good ideas, but the execution likely needs improvement. It only takes one careless person to spread the virus to others and cause an outbreak within the school. It also seems to be generally agreed upon that it depends on a few factors for each person.

If you’re debating on whether to remain virtual or learn through the hybrid model, ask yourself these questions: Do you have trouble learning online? Do you know if anybody, including yourself, in your household is at high risk? Are you concerned about those who believe that COVID-19 is a hoax? Do you know the risks of going back to school and are you okay with them? These are all questions you should ask yourself if you are debating whether or not to return to school.