In the midst of national chaos and confusion regarding education, RHS has continued in-person learning on a modified scale. The new hybrid schedule has prompted mixed reviews across the board, as balancing school and safety has been an utterly new experience for Freshmen and Seniors alike. While it has been a relief for many to finally walk back through the Main Entrance doors once again, others have not been fully satisfied with this contemporary combination of virtual and in-person learning.
Freshmen, already faced with the task of adapting to a completely new school environment, now must also juggle this once unheard of schedule. “I definitely think it is hard to adjust to high school, and even more now because it is not the same as it normally would be and there is a lot more work and some more pressure,” says Abigail Karan, Class of 2024. While most upperclassmen are relieved to be back, the new school years brings great challenges for new students who are entering a far more modified and complex high school experience than is expected.
Sophomores and juniors, already familiar with the school, seem to be adjusting fairly well to the new environment, especially with the introduction of the new six period day implemented just days ago. “I already feel a lot better about the new schedule and I’m so grateful our administration was able to listen to our feedback and change things so quickly!” Says Meghan McGorty, a junior at RHS. Parker Law, class of 2023, has a similar point of view stating, “I really like the new schedule because it cuts down on all the homework we were getting at the beginning of the year.”
The class of 2021 is facing a whole different kind of challenge this year. Between applying to college amidst a global crisis and scrambling to take newly re-scheduled standardized tests, RHS seniors are certainly tackling a monumental task. Whether or not the hybrid schedule is helping or hurting their efforts remains to be seen in the coming months. One senior, Sophie Hartstein, articulates her experiences in stating “the schedule we’ve had isn’t working. The workload of eight periods a day is too much, especially for students who do other things outside of school. … I work about four days a week and I’m still doing new players and acapella. Normally I can balance these pretty well, but in the three weeks we’ve been in school I’ve immediately fallen behind in all of my classes.” Aside from the challenges, many students appreciate the ability to learn in person and interact with teachers and peers. “Being able to be in person for one of the days makes all the difference. I’ve been all virtual for the past week and I’ve noticed a significant dip in my understanding not being able to be with other students in a school environment” Sophie concludes.
Students and teachers alike are encountering difficulties in adjusting to this year, feeling unable to connect properly with their students in a “normal” environment. Ms Parks, who is teaching fully virtually this year states, “I miss seeing my students and I miss the classroom interaction which is vital in a World Languages class … the pandemic can’t be over soon enough as far as I’m concerned!”
Nothing about this year could be characterized “normal,” nor anywhere close. The school day as well as the world we once knew are far from what our day to day lives now constitute. While the student body is generally appreciative of the administration’s attempts to create some semblance of normal in this extraordinary year, the delicate balance of virtual and in-school instruction is almost impossible to perfect. That said, there is certainly hope for the future, the coming weeks will indicate more about how this is all playing out and how the student body is receiving and adapting to these numerous changes.
Graphic: Tess Cundiff