Opinion: Hybrid or Virtual? It depends


Staff Photo

Spring-Ford senior Audrey Williams picks up material during book distribution earlier this fall.

Rida Hamid, Features Editor

Since the beginning of summer, the district has debated the best way to reopen schools. Though the hybrid plan was selected by the school board, many wonder whether it is truly the best way to go about reopening, considering how COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise.

What is better for students and teachers, virtual or in-person?

There are no easy answers, so I’ve asked a few students for their opinion, along with sharing my own.

“Honestly, I feel pretty comfortable with virtual school,” said Sam Ostrowksi, a 12th grade. 

Many high schoolers agree with his opinion, claiming that virtual is not as bad as they thought it would be. I have to agree with these students – though the use of Canvas was a learning curve from utilizing Google Classroom, the adjustment occurred quickly, and I better understand the routine of checking into Zoom for my classes.

“I miss how school was structured back from March to June,” said Satu Maenpaa, 10th grade. 

Unlike in March, the first marking period had me having to work a little harder, as I had to learn new content in order to be successful for the AP exams I plan on taking in the Spring, so there is slightly more stress involved with my classes. Switching over to hybrid may become a bit of a challenge, as that regular routine will become interrupted on two days out of the week, where students have to return in-person. It may become difficult for students to adjust, as on some days, students will be virtual, and on others, students would be hybrid.

“I just miss all of the interactions with my friends,” said Lauren Black, 12th-grader. 

Again, I am quick to agree again. There are many students and teachers I have not been able to interact with since March, and it is very difficult for me to make connections with teachers that I had not had in previous years. It is also strange to interact with students through breakout rooms, as many of my peers do not opt to keep their cameras on, so it is awkward speaking to black screens. The classroom environment is what I miss the most- there are no more side conversations with our friends, or the little quips we make with teachers. Virtual classrooms cause the course to solely focus on academics, which takes away the fun of school.

There is a good divide between the students opting to go back to school and those who are staying at home. According to the latest data on the school website, roughly 70% of students are following the hybrid plan, and another 28 percent are staying online.

After long consideration, I personally decided that staying virtual was the best option. On Nov. 12, COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania reached a record high of 6,023 cases per day. To put this in context, the cases back in April were only around 2,000.

For the safety of myself and others, I am choosing to stay at home, as there is still a great risk. The routine of using Zoom has already been instilled, and I have already adjusted to the virtual environment. Though I will miss out on the interactions with my peers, those interactions will already be strange with social distancing being implemented at school.

No matter how you decide to enter the second marking period, stay safe and social distance when necessary.