PRHS Hurries Back to In-Person Learning Before Spring Break

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Photo by Luxe Palmer

Two days before spring break, Palmer Ridge returned to full in-person learning- no cohorts, no online days, no hybrid option. The original plan was for school to resume in-person learning for all grades in a graduated manner. Freshman and sophomores (which a conducted survey cited as the grades most struggling with keeping up with school in the hybrid model) returned two weeks before spring break, while juniors and seniors would return fully the week after spring break.

However, a blizzard threw these plans for a loop, with school being cancelled for two days. With two snow days, the high schools had to scramble to make sure students attend all eight classes at least once this week. This new procedure resulted in the upperclassmen joining the lowerclassmen in school for two days (keeping Friday as a Flex Friday).

Teachers quickly prepared their classrooms for the new influx of students, losing a week of planning and preparation to the snow days. Science teacher Mrs Lantz gave her input on the rushed return to in-person learning. In regards to preparing her classroom to fit COVID regulations as best as possible, Lantz said, “I have arranged the class in an alphabetical seating chart and pre-arranged lab groups. Because my desks are already in groups/pods, thankfully I didn’t have to rearrange the lab tables in my room.” Many teachers were already planning on using an alphabetical pod seating arrangement; if students typically sat with the same few students in shared classes, the risk of the spreading of coronavirus throughout the school is reduced.

Though the hybrid model (alternating two days of in-person learning, two days of online learning, with a Flex Friday at home) is no longer an option, students can opt out of full in-person learning for full online learning if they so choose. “There are many students who need to be virtual for a variety of reasons. They have different requirements so we need to adapt activities like labs for the distance learning environment,” said Lantz. This makes planning for teachers just as complicated, for they have to accommodate both students in the classroom, as well as students joining the class via Google Meet from home.

Students whose families are still concerned about the spread of COVID or have other problems, as well as students who have been temporarily quarantined, join the classes via Google Meet and use Canvas to access assignments from home. “There are a few [students] who have ongoing, unforeseen health issues that prevent┬áthem from coming in person. We have to create alternate assignments for these students to ensure they can meet the curriculum requirements,” said Lantz.

This being said, the number of students choosing the online learning option in contrast to the number of students choosing full in-person learning is expected to be far less, so teachers will only need to integrate a few online students at a time. Commenting on this issue, Lantz said, “We expect all students- hopefully- to be in person after spring break, so there should be fewer cases of needed adaptations.”

After spring break, lessons will continue as per the original plan: all grades in person, with Navy and Gold days alternating and a Flex Friday with the option for students to visit teachers at school if they need extra assistance.