Hybrid learning in consideration

Administration adapting to bring normalcy and safety


Jacob Khabie

Math teacher Chad Austad talks with students during hybrid learning Oct. 27. Park returned to distance learning Nov. 16.

Andrea Melear

For many, senior year is one of the most memorable parts of someone’s high school experience and senior Lily Metzler said being in-person is invaluable especially for seniors who have suffered the loss of many experiences.

“High school is all about making social connections with your peers, your classmates and your teachers. And as much as the St. Louis Park community has tried their best to make it as easy to adjust to distance learning as possible, it’s not the same,” Metzler said. “You miss out on all those different experiences that you have in class and in school, so it’s been pretty hard to adjust but, I’m just hoping that we can go back to school anytime soon.”

In a School Board meeting Jan. 11, superintendent Astein Osei recommended setting a target date for when secondary education may be able to go back in person. After meeting with the Park Association of Teachers executive team, Osei announced there are mixed opinions from teachers on when to come back.

“The beliefs, feelings and thoughts (of teachers) are on a spectrum. It’s not all the same; there are some that are expressing significant concern to the degree that believe we should not come back until every single staff member has gone through the full battery of vaccination. There are others that believe we can come back next week, there’s a craving,” Osei said. “Regardless of where they are on that spectrum I do believe that they care about the students and want to make sure that the students that they serve are having a good educational experience.”

Sophomore Zach Johnson said he would prefer going back to in-person learning at the start of the second semester because it allows for a fresh start. 

“With the new semester, you just get a new feeling for school. When they start doing stuff back in person you can just get involved with your teachers, instead of online where you don’t get actual relationships with your teacher,” Johnson said. 

Osei said the school is working hard on finding creative ways to get students back in school, especially for seniors to be able to experience their last year of high school while still keeping safety in mind.

“Throughout this entire process, I’ve been trying to center and be mindful of the experience of students, recognizing that safety is important, but hopefully what students and families are feeling is that there is a significant amount of energy and desire to get students back into the building,” Osei said. 

According to Johnson, the difference between hybrid and distance learning has been significant for him both academically and socially and he said in-person learning is overall more beneficial for students.

“With distance learning right now, it just sucks because I feel unmotivated and bored. When we had the few days of hybrid it was better for me because just the feeling of having a teacher overlooking made me more productive,” Johnson said.

Metzler said the one in-person interaction she had during hybrid learning was positive since it gave her a sense of regularity which now leads to her eagerness to go back to school.

“I only ended up going once, but it was really nice to be able to see the teachers and the few classmates that I had in my classes. Even though it wasn’t completely normal or even close to how past years have been, it was really nice to be able to at least for one short day, just be able to see the people that are in my community,” Metzler said.

According to Osei, he feels optimistic about the plans for the future to ensure students a feel of normalcy with hybrid learning. 

“What I will tell the seniors and students who are struggling is to continue to do your best, stay strong and know that we care about you, we love you, we’re thinking about you,” Osei said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure before the end of this year that you can have some sort of hybrid experience in school.”