The Harms of Hybrid Learning

Heidi Lozano, Staff Writer

Last year we experienced a new way of learning which is distance learning.  In distance learning, students and teachers join the class through a virtual setting such as Webex, Zoom, and many more meeting services. Although our district hasn’t applied hybrid learning, there are a couple of issues that come with it. 

As the community eagerly waits for updates on hybrid learning, it’s essential to keep an eye on the vaccination rate and phase. According to the official California Covid-19 website, 199,441 people in Santa Clara have been vaccinated as of February 3, 2021. That’s approximately 10% of the Santa Clara population. Those who work in education and childcare are included in the current phase, Phase 1B Tier One. Unfortunately, the Covid 19 vaccine does not guarantee the prevention of getting infected, and students aren’t included in the phase because they aren’t employees. The vaccine won’t solve all of our problems, and to flatten the curve, we must quarantine and social distance properly.  Containing the pandemic depends on us and not the vaccine.

There are many new cases of Covid 19 that have caused Santa Clara County to be in the Widespread tier. As of February 3, there were 425 new cases according to Santa Clara County Public Health website. With these many cases and approximately 10% of Santa Clara’s population, hybrid learning is asking teachers and staff to put their lives at risk. There have been many cases of teachers dying because of Covid 19 complications. No teacher should be forced to choose between their career and their life.  Teachers have shown time and time again how much they care about their job and their students, and yet that doesn’t seem enough for people. Teachers are more than educators, and they have families and friends that will be affected by them going back to school and people would be affected by their loss.  

While these problems directly affect the teachers and staff, students’ quality of education may be changed drastically as a result. Teachers will be overwhelmed with in-person and Webex. Teachers already have to deal with connection issues and other problems with Webex. I’ve seen this happen in my AP World History class when our teacher loses connection and we can’t hear or see her. This isn’t the first time this has happened in our class. On October 22, 2020, the school faced a school-wide shutdown of Webex. The first half of class was spent trying to figure out the problem and how to solve it. With hybrid learning, more people will be using the school’s internet, causing more connection problems on Webex. Not only will the quality affect those at home, but it will also affect those in person.  Beth Ritter, the Marshall Public Schools District director of teaching and learning was interviewed by Education Week about hybrid learning in the article, “How Hybrid Learning Is (and Is Not) Working During COVID-19: 6 Case Studies”.  “I would say our teachers are very overwhelmed,” Ritter said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it.’ ”. This is just one example of teachers being overwhelmed by hybrid learning. If teachers are being overwhelmed by hybrid learning, it will affect the quality of education the students get.  No matter what their learning situation is—at home or in person. 

As students, we have a lot of say in what happens with our education and our learning situation.  Hybrid learning isn’t safe unless the entire school, staff, and students get vaccinated and cases decrease. This pandemic isn’t over, so why should we act like it is?