Hybrid model alters student learning


Graham Fokema

Math teacher Mary Rose Steele writes down solutions to exponential expressions on the board during a hybrid day which allows for in person learning.

Billy Smith, Staff Writer

Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, teachers and students have had to change the way they learn both in school and out of school in a hybrid learning model.

According to The Public Schools of Northborough and Southborough, there were four COVID-19 cases reported in Northborough and two cases reported in Southborough from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6. Cumulatively, there have been 205 COVID-19 cases in the Northborough-Southborough school district.

After a delayed start to the school year for teacher training and close to three weeks of remote learning, ARHS implemented a hybrid model in mid-October. District officials spent time gathering data and reflecting on how effective this model has been in terms of safety, teaching and learning.

“[Reopening Algonquin] really wasn’t about how many positive cases there were in the community as it was about our operational readiness to open school when we did,” Principal Sean Bevan said. “Luckily I think we have concluded that the choices we did make have been working.”

Algonquin has put into place a schedule that allows students to get in person learning two days a week, while maintaining a safe environment. 

According to a Harbinger survey of 225 students conducted through Google Forms from Dec. 7 to Dec. 12, 47% (119 students) say the hybrid model is working well in terms of learning. 

Teachers agree the hybrid model is not ideal, but having in person time for learning is beneficial for many.

“I’m glad that we can at least do hybrid, but I can’t wait until we are all in person again and we don’t have to social distance as much because I think it’s better for all kinds of students,” Special Education Department Chair Felicia Rutigliano said.

The Special Education department has been allowed to have students come in four and a half days a week due to the need for in person learning. 

“Our teachers are working really hard to keep the learning engaging and they are doing the best they can with the circumstances given,” Head of Guidance Lisa Connery said.

According to the Harbinger survey, 67% of respondents feel the procedures that have been put into place are effective and working well.

“The real data piece that we are observing closely is whether or not there has been in school transmission,” Bevan said. “We have not seen that at all at the high school.”

Algonquin administration, faculty and staff have put time and effort into a plan that allows students to come in and learn in a sanitary environment.

“I think that [the safety guidelines] are a good place to start because they are only as good as people following them,” nurse Erika Almquist said.