Staff editorial: FJUHSD should delay Nov. 2 hybrid reopening

Hanna Oltman

The Accolade’s editorial board count: 6 agree and 10 disagree with the Fullerton Joint Union High School District’s decision to partially reopen schools Nov. 2.

For the past seven months (not including the summer break), Sunny Hills students have been going through the same weekly routines: wake up, attend school via Zoom, do homework and return to bed. Over and over again.

But on Nov. 2, the switch to the hybrid learning schedule will put a dent in teachers, students and parents’ routines. Gone are those special short Wednesdays with school ending as early as 12:40 p.m. for those who don’t plan to attend a Student Support Period.

At first blush, this combination of in-person and online learning sounds like the ideal way to give all stakeholders a sense of normalcy with a form of socialization and enhanced education.

But not quite.

On top of the mandated temperature checks, face masks and social distancing protocols, instructors must simultaneously attend to students who’ll still be Zooming from home while keeping track of those who are there to receive live instruction, each separated by six feet. Granted learning from school provides a change of scenery and a safe-haven from potentially toxic households, teacher-student interaction remains virtually nonexistent. 

Soon, every hybrid learning school day will become a minimum day — similar to the Wednesday distance learning schedule — ending at 1:30 p.m. with the lunch and Student Support Periods occurring after school to prevent students from eating and removing their masks on campus.

This forces students already used to eating lunch, attending club meetings and receiving help from teachers during the old schedule to adapt once again to another change. According to our online news poll, 74% of the nearly 100 who voted about the old schedule preferred the 30-minute Student Support Period the best compared with the other schedule changes of shortened class periods, minimum day Wednesdays and longer passing periods.

But when Student Support occurs an hour after sixth period ends, this discourages students from going to club meetings when all their academic classes have already ended.

While we would have hoped that district officials consulted students and parents about the hybrid learning schedule, we understand that all involved will have to establish new routines until the campus fully reopens. Let’s just hope it’s not a detriment to students’ academic and social needs.