Dawson James

H.V. Jenkins High School
Savannah, Georgia
Dawson James, Freshman Student

As a 9th grade student ambassador from the Savannah Chatham County Public School System in Georgia, I would like to share my recent experiences with the new hybrid school system. I have been virtual for most of the school year, but recently I returned to school in person as part of a phased in hybrid learning program. My time with virtual learning has been strange because every teacher does virtual learning differently. They do by using different platforms, letting us “attend class” at different times to do schoolwork, or even the way they deal with internet and technology problems. I have dealt with these situations by being patient and waiting for issues to be fixed. I show up early to my classes so that I can get important news and information.  I make sure to participate in class so that I understand the information better and can ask questions as they arise. Through this virtual experience, I have realized how much technology has grown to be a part of our lives and how important it is in our current situation. Also, I have realized how difficult it is for teachers to teach through technology since students can abuse technology and find a way to walk away from classes or ignore assignments. With the new hybrid learning program, it has become much easier to teach and learn! Hybrid learning allows a set number of students to return to school in person two days a week (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday) with Wednesday being a deep clean day at school. Wednesday is also a self-guided learning day for students with full access to our teachers. Hybrid learning has allowed me to go to school and enjoy in person education which eliminates many of the distractions that students, including myself, face when at home. In addition to removing distractions that make virtual learning difficult, hybrid learning allows students to develop the responsibility that is built when you attend normal school. This responsibility includes; attending all classes on time, participating in classes, and following rules that are in place to protect students. This is especially true for 6th and 9th graders (like me) since they have never experienced the new environment of the school they are attending. I can see why hybrid learning is important to seniors because this is their last year of school until they leave for college. The hybrid learning program being used in our county has proven to be effective in teaching students and, in my opinion, is important to a large part of the student population for a variety of reasons. In addition to the positive learning environment created by hybrid learning, it also has created a safe environment for students in terms of COVID-19, by allowing only students who feel safe going back to school to do so, and not forcing them into a situation where they are uncomfortable. It also reminds students to follow COVID-19 safety procedures. In conclusion, virtual learning has been replaced by hybrid learning which has proven to be effective in teaching students in person without distractions and with constant safety from the COVID-19 crisis. I truly believe that it is one of the best programs we could have that fits the needs of all students and not just one group.