Students are back in the building. Since the introduction of the hybrid model on March 2, around 850 students have returned to in-person instruction. These numbers continue to fluctuate as some students have decided to go back to virtual learning from in-person.
“The hybrid model is almost the same as the original all-virtual style. I like the delayed start time but I miss the longer breaks. In-person is more relaxing since there aren’t a lot of people in the building,” junior Nathan Ong said.
So far, several individuals at school have tested positive for Covid-19. In response, FCPS worked with the Fairfax County Health Department to identify other students and staff who have been exposed. Other than that, hybrid learning has gone smoothly.
“Hybrid learning is a refreshing change compared to virtual learning. In elective classes it is definitely awesome to be back as so much is hands on. It is much easier to learn in person since there are less distractions. Overall, my hybrid experience has been enjoyable so far,” senior Madison Cruz said.
The hybrid model has been going smoothly and many are optimistic that it will stay for the rest of the school year.
“I think it’s [the hybrid model] going all right. It’s definitely strange and I’m finding myself making silly errors, like forgetting to record or logging into the wrong Google Meet briefly, because I’m a little more distracted,” English teacher Julia Hanneman said. “I also feel a little strange about being behind my desk when teaching with students in the room. But, I have enjoyed being able to see some of my students in person and have the moments in between to get to know them better.”
Many teachers have had to adjust their teaching style to accommodate both in-person and virtual students. For one, they have to remain six feet away from the in-person students, making it harder for those students to receive help.
“The idea of teaching students virtually and in-person is a challenge,” principal Shawn DeRose said. “But, I think our staff has done a great job in facing those challenges. This is thanks to the success we had earlier in the year.”
Students attending in-person learning have not been the only ones to go back into the building. The writing SOLs took place March 15 and March 22. The SOLs were for students currently enrolled in English 11. While a majority of students took the test this year, some decided to wait until the 2021-22 school year to take the test.
“It was very exciting going back into the building and seeing people I had not seen for a year,” junior Finn Scott-Daniels said. “I did have some technical difficulties, but once I started the test it was pretty easy.”
AHS has set their first priority for the class of 2021. Seniors currently attending in-person instruction will have the option to go into the building four days a week instead of two. Seniors who stayed completely virtual will also be given this option. AHS will be reaching out to families in the coming weeks.
“I feel seniors being able to attend in person four days a week is a great opportunity for the consistency of learning,” Cruz said. “Seniors have missed so much over the past year that this opportunity is something I am looking forward to.”
AHS is doing this to give seniors a sense of normalcy for their final months in high school.
“It’s a good option to have, but with our senior year coming to an end, considering all IB exams have been cancelled and IAs already being turned in, it seems pointless,” senior Annie Nguyen said. “It will give some an opportunity to raise their grades, however, it doesn’t change the fact that we have missed a majority of our senior year and all the events that come with it. Personally, I will not be going back for the four days or the hybrid days just because if I’m going to be staring at a laptop screen, I’d rather be doing it from the comfort of my own room.”
Congress authorized a Covid relief bill which gave qualifying Americans $1400. It also gave families with children $1400 per child. Many AHS families qualified for this and it helped buy food and pay for necessities.
“I appreciate that more money is being given per child and that it includes college age dependents,” junior Eleanor Lauderdale said. “I don’t appreciate that it is difficult for unhoused people to get access to their money, but that goes for just about every resource and unhoused people. I also wish that the federal minimum wage raise was part of it.”
With teachers being vaccinated and the success of the hybrid model, FCPS has projected that all students will be in-person for the 2021-22 school year. For now, we can only hope that the spread of Covid will decrease and students will be able to stay in the building.