Beacon High School returns to full day
On Feb. 8 it was announced that Beacon High School would return to full days of in-person instruction starting March 1.
Since September, “hybrid” students at the high school have attended in-person classes two days per week from 7:30 a.m. to 11:07 a.m., then returned home for remote learning until 2:10 p.m. This schedule worked well for at the high school, as remote and hybrid students got about the same amount of instruction and students were spread throughout classes so that social distancing could be maintained at all times.
However, it resulted in fewer classes per week and was a confusing schedule to work with for both students and staff, because of the varied class times, and the switch from in-person to remote halfway through the day.
Under the new schedule, students will attend more classes per week, beginning the switch to a more regular routine.
Students who have chosen the fully remote learning mode will remain all-remote, but will have the option to switch to hybrid learning as the year progresses. Remote students will attend all the classes a hybrid student attends, and will log onto Google meets for all of their classes Monday through Friday.
Wednesday will remain a “check-and-connect” day, when students will take all of their classes through Google meets.
The return to in-person classes also means that classes will once again be of equal length. Under the new, more normal, schedule, classes will be 42 minutes each, with a 3-minute transition period. Under the old schedule, class times varied from day to day and class to class. Afternoon remote classes were 30 minutes, while the morning in-person sessions were 52 minutes each.
Beacon geometry teacher Samantha Veltri said that “everyone will have the same amount of time per class, so it will no longer be like, ‘OK, I have 52 minutes with this class and then only 30-something minutes with this class.’ It will be nice to have everyone on the same time.”
Many students and teachers said they think this is a positive change that will improve the rest of the school year.
“It’s negative because of the loss of the transition time,” said remote student Henry Reinke. “But, overall, this will make the rest of the year feel more comforting and closer to normalcy.”
The district is also planning more reopenings. Superintendent Matt Landahl released an update on Feb. 27 saying that he hoped elementary schools can return to four days of in-person instruction for hybrid students, with Wednesdays remaining all-remote, by May.
Due to increased air filtration standards and voluntary COVID-19 testing, he believes that the schools are very capable of beginning secondary reopenings.