(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Students in the St. Joseph School District had to get used to learning behind a screen again this week.
It was the first week of hybrid learning since the announced the method change on October 5th.
“I think it went as smoothly as we can expect,” said Dr. Doug Van Zyl, SJSD Superintendent.
This is the first time since March that every student in the district is doing some sort of online learning, whether it's a few days a week with hybrid learning or attending the virtual academy.
“It’s nice except when for one thing: people freeze,” said Suriaya, 3rd grader attending the virtual academy.
Back in August when KQ2 spoke with Suriaya right before the start of school, she said she was excited to learn online.
Two months into the school year, Suriaya echoed what many people are feeling.
“I’d rather be in the classroom that way I can be with new kids and stuff, but then I don’t want to get COVID and pass it on to somebody,” said Suriaya.
Getting back to normal is also what Dr. Van Zyl wants, but he said right now, hybrid learning is what's allowing kids a quality education while maintaining their safety.
“We would rather have all of our students with us in-person. It’s not that we want to do something differently just because we want to do something differently. We’re doing this because we’re trying to be able to provide education to our students that still allows for face-to-face to take place and still keep our students and our staff as safe as we can,” said Dr. Van Zyl.
The spike in the number of students and staff having to quarantine is one of the main decision makers behind this transition.
Last week, October 2nd - 8th, the district reported 496 students and staff members in quarantine.
The first week of hybrid learning, October 9th - 15th, the district reports 481 students and staff members in quarantine. There are 15 less staff members in quarantine.
Dr. Van Zyl said it's probable hybrid learning will last longer than it's initial one month trial.
“We’ve gotta be able to give it some time, be able to see how it moves forward," said Dr. Van Zyl.
The Board of Education will discuss at the end of the month whether to extend hybrid learning or switch to another form of teaching.