Waterloo West receives positive feedback from students about hybrid learning plan

Senior Isaiah Pena of Waterloo West, wakes up feeling distraught and nervous. It’s later than usual and Pena is worried he will be late. It’s a B day at Waterloo West. Relieved, Pena goes back to sleep. Since the COVID pandemic spread to Iowa, West switched classes to hybrid learning instead of regular everyday in-person.

Trying to discover the best learning environment for teenagers is challenging. As Waterloo students engage in an alternate learning that is safest for everybody, CF takes interest in hybrid classes. Waterloo West split the entire school into two groups randomly, group A and group B. Students living in the same household automatically joined the same group. On A days, group A will attend school and group B will attend online classes. 

Pena, who has spent his entire high school career at West, said that hybrid learning is better. Although he doesn’t see as many of his friends during school, hybrid has helped his academics tremendously. “The days off in between are good for my mental health, and so I don’t fall behind in school work.” 

He said that hybrid learning helps his friends and him be more productive and it has impacted his grades in a “dramatically positive” way. Pena said that overall, online learning would have been better than going to school. “A couple kids from West ended up getting COVID, which wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have hybrid,” he said. 

Senior Century Shimp of Waterloo West prefers hybrid because it helps with her anxiety. “I feel less pressure to dress a certain way and present myself well enough. I have more time to work on myself and to do more things I like. I don’t have to give five out of the seven days of the week to school.” 

Shimp said that most of the lessons get taught in school and there isn’t a lot of work assigned during the days the students stay home. To stay productive during hybrid learning, Pena said, “Just stay on top of your work and get your assignments done ASAP so you can just chill on your day off.” 

At CF, sophomore Sam Jeanes would love to do hybrid because it would decrease the chance of her getting COVID. “Going to school every day brings a lot of exposure to everyone,” Jeanes said. 

However, she said that her productivity would get worse and she would never get anything done because she wouldn’t have to attend school every day. Jeanes also said that she believes her friends would be in favor of doing hybrid at CF. She often notices students not wearing masks properly, which ultimately makes her uncomfortable at school. 

On the other hand, Jeanes said that hybrid learning might be harder for some people. “I absolutely hated doing online classes last spring. I can’t learn remotely,” Jeanes said.

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