Opinion: The hybrid model fails to make up for lost time

WSPN%27s+Julia+Raymond+explains+why+WHS%27+hybrid+learning+model+has+failed+to+fulfill+her+expectations.

Credit: Julia Raymond

WSPN’s Julia Raymond explains why WHS’ hybrid learning model has failed to fulfill her expectations.

Most surrounding towns began their hybrid model in September and things are going smoothly. Wayland chose to wait until Oct. 19, which is reasonable, but now that it’s time to go back, it’s clear that our hybrid model isn’t ideal. After a month of staying at home and struggling to learn online, Wayland has got to step it up by readjusting the hybrid model.

The current hybrid model looks like this: Cohort A will go into school on Mondays and Tuesdays, Cohort B will go on Thursdays and Fridays, and both cohorts are off on Wednesday. During these off days, students will not be Zooming into their classes. Instead, they are given independent work to complete and follow their own schedule — the students are basically on their own.

An alternative to taking Wednesday off could be that the cohorts switch off. For example, Cohort A goes to school on Wednesday one week and Cohort B goes to school on Wednesday the next week. This would give the students more in-person class time and also more opportunities for taking assessments.

The part of the hybrid model that consists of independent work on off days is where we fail the most. There is no reason students shouldn’t be able to Zoom into their classes. Worksheets and videos are just not the same as a teacher giving instructions and answering questions. Wayland needs to recognize that learning on your own is hard, and kids are going to fall behind fast.

Another issue with the hybrid model is that since there will be less substantive learning going on, students will not be prepared for SATs, ACTs, and AP exams. This is a huge issue considering how important these tests are.

Wayland is very small compared to surrounding towns. It makes sense for big schools to choose a two-day hybrid model but not us. The size of Wayland could allow everyone to go back to school for five days a week. I’m sure most parents would feel comfortable with five days since their kids have already missed out on so much learning and socializing. If we saw an increase in cases, we could always go back to the two-day model.

We must get in as many in-person school days as possible before the second wave hits. It’s bound to happen, and when it does, cases will go up dramatically, and schools will be forced to revert back to online learning. We need to get students in school while we can. Cases are low; it’s time.

Wayland needs to step up during times like this. We need parents and students to push for a new hybrid plan or else our students will fall behind. Everyone has to do their part, including the staff. If Wayland cannot get their act together, our reputation as one of the top school districts will be tarnished.