CRANFORD - Cranford High School adopted a hybrid schedule for the 2020/21 school year in which students are split into two Cohorts, A and B, with each group alternating between in-person school and virtual learning every other day.
The adoption of the schedule was to allow for social distancing and safety precautions to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, while also attempting to provide a valuable education to students. Each day begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 12:21 p.m.
Now, after more than a month of the modified school schedule, students have adjusted to the hybrid model. Teachers are utilizing Google Meet and the presentation features it provides as a way to cohesively teach both in-person and virtual students each day. In a survey done with 166 students, it was revealed that almost 55% of students enjoy being able to go in-person as opposed to having an all virtual schedule as some schools do.
The study also revealed that 64% of students said they feel less productive on virtual days as opposed to how productive they are in-person. The survey revealed that 52% of students admit in addition to being less productive, they also learn less when they are virtual.
“There are so many distractions at home making it a much harder environment to learn in… it is just more difficult to learn and pay attention at home," said Cranford High School senior Dan Balkan.
Students also remarked that they are struggling with the way classes are organized. Senior Matt Coates said “my only big complaint is the way that they arranged the schedule. In classes like math, it is really hard to retain information when you are only seeing the teacher twice a week.” Another student said “I have probably sent more emails to my AP psychology teacher than words I have said to him in person.”
42% of students reported that they are more stressed this school year than they have been in years past. One student stated, “I don’t think teachers are giving enough material… It feels like they’re giving the bare minimum.” Another student confessed, “The pandemic as a whole has damaged my mental health and my ability to focus, but at least when school was out I didn’t feel incredibly guilty about being unproductive."
The survey shows that students do see benefits to the hybrid schedule. 86.7% of students said that they enjoy the half-day schedule that characterizes the hybrid model. Senior Katie Quinones said, “I enjoy how much extra time I have to get work done because it is only half days.”
Students also expressed that they understand the school is doing its best to maintain a positive learning environment despite the grievances expressed about the hybrid model. Connor Tuite, echoing the sentiments of several students, said, “Cranford is doing the best they can though so we all just need to stay positive and get through this together!” Another student said, “I feel as though this hybrid schedule is the best response to the current climate and that all educators are doing great for what has been given.”