First day of hybrid model

Cohort A-1 attends school in person for first time since March


Ryan Barnett

A group of students walk from class to lunch Oct. 26. Students are required to wear masks and practice social distancing while attending school in person.

Students walked the halls of Park for the first time this school year Oct. 26. However, the return to school was far from normal. The school was at 25% capacity; only students with last names beginning with A-E attended in person. Students were required to wear masks and to social distance. According to junior Nolan Anderson, he followed these safety precautions for the well-being of others.

“It’s weird to go around and see everybody wearing masks and…not having work on a physical paper,” Anderson said. “I don’t care about getting COVID. I only care about other people getting COVID. So, I try and follow the guidelines myself…You still get to see people who you haven’t gotten to hang out with in a long time.”

Despite minor setbacks, the first day of hybrid teaching was a positive experience, according to band director Steven Schmitz, because of the compassion and the compliance of his students.

“I kind of feel like a first-year teacher, even though it’s year 18…We’re all just trying to have grace and forgiveness and patience with each other,” Schmitz said. “So far, everybody’s been really serious about the rules. They understand that if we don’t, we get shut down and go back to distance again…Best part by far is actually seeing students’ faces. I can feel it in my heart; it makes me so happy.”

Junior Sophia Davis said she felt disengaged with her classes and felt uncomfortable when others ignored guidelines.

“English was really bad. We had a discussion, but it was on Zoom. Everyone (learning from home) was talking, but we were just sitting in the room listening,” Davis said. “One issue I have is I see some kids with their nose out (of their masks). Some teachers too.”

According to senior Elise Anderson, she said she felt safe in all of her classes because students wore masks and stayed socially distant. However, she said she did not feel comfortable in the cafeteria, so she did not eat during school, which compromised her day.

“The safety procedures were really well-done in my classes. It was really easy to keep it a safe distance from everyone, and everyone in all of my classes was wearing masks,” Anderson said. “I did not end up eating in the cafeteria for lunch because I was concerned about how safe that would be…I spent the lunch hour in my fifth-hour class.”

Best part by far is actually seeing students’ faces. I can feel it in my heart; it makes me so happy.”

— Steven Schmitz

According to Anderson, hybrid learning increased his productivity because his teachers were well-prepared, and he connected with his teachers in person.

“The work I did was more efficient, and I was able to get more done,” Anderson said. “The teachers had a really good plan and, despite it being the first day, it was relatively effective at getting a procedure established…The best part was just getting to see my teachers in person and getting to do the classroom interaction in person and not over a screen.”