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Teacher Talk--Do Educators Agree With Hybrid Learning?

Mary Hannah Wheeler's fourth period B Day students social distance in the classroom. (Courtesy Photo)

By Emma Duncan--Eagle Assistant Editor

A lot has happened over the last few months in relation to how students attend class, but does anyone know how teachers feel about the School Board's decision to revert back to hybrid learning?

“We are fortunate that our principal, Mr. Crutchfield, and his leadership team know what will work best for our school,” began Eagle Tech facilitator Tara Gable. “Every school in FCPS has different challenges, needs, circumstances, etc, and I am appreciative of their work to gather details and develop a plan that will keep our students, as well as staff, safe while still being able to have in-person instruction in the safest way possible. I was happy to hear the board felt the same way and trusted his proposal for what is best for our FCHS family.”

Most teachers agree, but some still have their doubts.

“We need to be cautious. I don’t think our community is at that level of safety yet because we’re still educating some to wear masks and wash their hands,” explained Biology teacher Amy Chattin. “But, I think the goal is to try, especially for our seniors, to give them the senior year they deserve.”

English teacher Mary Hannah Wheeler is also concerned for the class of 2021.

“My little sister is a senior this year, and I truly hope there is something that can be done, not only for her, but all of the precious seniors I teach,” she said.

Mary Hannah Wheeler's desk space is separated from her students' seats. (Courtesy Photo)

However, if the School Board wouldn’t have decided to switch to a hybrid schedule, Wheeler’s opinion may have differed.

“To begin with, I was nervous about coming back, especially with the original plan for students to come back 100%,” she explained. “However, when they changed the decision to go hybrid I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. Knowing the hybrid schedule with 4 classes a day worked, there wasn't a big reason for us to force the full student body to return when it's truly not safe.”

While educators may worry about student and staff safety, they’re choosing to trust.

“I’m sure the school board is researching all possible strategies and at the same time trying to follow all CDC guidelines as well as recommendations from other health organizations,” shared Boys' Basketball Coach and Driver’s Ed teacher Thomas Hering. “Personally, I’m excited to have my students come back to school.”

Agriculture teacher Kasey Arrington shares Hering’s elation to return to campus, as both have classes they say don't transfer well virtually.

“I'm looking forward to seeing my students and getting to do dissections in my Veterinary Science class more than anything else,” she shared.

Teachers have chosen to soak up as much in-person instruction as possible, because the School Board said returning to virtual learning could happen at any time. Nonetheless, Gable has hope for tomorrow.

“Our staff and students are hopeful for the day that we can return to all of what we remember as FCHS. That is why being very strategic and intentional in our steps now to a safe return is crucial to getting back to exactly that. Our school leadership knows what is best now and how to phase in more in-person school days when the time is right," she concluded.

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