As Camas High School (CHS) advanced to hybrid learning since March of 2021 due to COVID-19 case rates decreasing, in-person learning becomes an option for students who prefer it over remote learning, and others continue to learn remotely. But, this change impacts remote students in many different ways including both pros and cons.
Based on what remote CHS students report, the main reasons they decided to continue online was because they would have felt unsafe in their environment due to COVID, they would have felt uncomfortable for mental health reasons, and/or they noticed that they learn the same (or better) online.
Some teachers at CHS made various efforts to incorporate all of their students in their teaching like setting up extra cameras, adding more microphones, changing schedules, (etc.). On the other hand, other teachers have kept it relatively simple and without much change to make learning possible for their students.
Although many online students haven’t noticed changes, good or bad, a lot of remote students recognized various changes in their school life since being involved in hybrid learning. CHS Junior, Jasmine Whittington, says, “Teachers have changed some protocols and tests so sometimes that can be difficult.” With the focus shifted towards in-person learning while trying to accommodate online students, teachers must make many changes to make their subject’s curriculum learnable.
Along with this assessment, CHS Sophomore, Ananya Pattamatta says, “I feel like some of the teachers don’t really engage the remote students as much anymore or do activities that are heavily in-person based. Another difference is the schedule change…” Again, it is hard for teachers to be able to effectively teach all students, leaving online students to feel less engaged.
These noticeable changes that have come with hybrid learning have affected the learning and processes that students were previously used to. CHS Sophomore, Mia Holman, says, “It has definitely forced me to be more independent and disciplined on myself… I do find that I have an increased workload.” As it has gotten more complicated for teachers to teach their students, many online students have found that school requires more focus and dedication.
For some remote students, the increase in required focus also has to do with the difficulty to understand the more in-person-based-teaching style. CHS Sophomore, Areet Dhillon, says, “Teachers have now started to do more hands-on activities which remote learners cannot participate in and it makes it harder to grasp concepts.”
Even though the switch to hybrid learning has been tough for many remote learners, it is beginning to become more routine as the online learning strategy for many of these students is centered around increased focus and flexibility.