Are you Ready for Hybrid Sultans?


Jacynda Klunk

Sultana High School is ready to take on COVID-19! Students and parents have made their decisions whether or not to return to in person learning, hybrid style. The dates for our return to campus are April 5th for 11th and 12th graders and April 12th for 9th and 10th graders.

Recently, citizens have worked to slow the spread, wearing masks and many getting the vaccine. This has given schools the opportunity to open with careful consideration and strict health precautions. 

“The students coming back will be placed in two cohorts, either A or B. They will attend on different days. School will be done in distance learning every Wednesday for all students.” explained Mr. Bird, our Sultana High School Principal. 

Sophomore Leila Covarrubio stated, “I am very excited, but I am nervous for the possible difficulty of transitioning from online to in person.” This is a very common response. Online has been difficult for many students and their mental health and many look forward to the change even as they wonder what hybrid will be like. 

Going back to campus is a difficult decision. Nobody knows for certain the effects such a decision will have since, even with health precautions, students could potentially still catch and spread COVID-19 in a public setting.  The lack of guarantees has left many students and staff feeling uncertain.

Some Sultans have already given up on the 2020-2021 school year. An anonymous student explains, “I am finishing sophomore year at home. I feel like I did not learn enough to pass finals, and I don’t want to fail because of this whole situation.” Not only was this student nervous for finals after this isolated year, but many students that took AP classes this year felt similarly. Taking tests after such a difficult year can be very scary and nerve racking.  Trying to take a test when you feel you will not do well and have no confidence in yourself can be very stressful.

Many people have been hoping for a better year after 2020, and hybrid is the first step to a possible healthier mentality and learning/teaching habitat for students and staff.   Mr. Bird explained that “we will have about 50% of our students going back to school and 50% staying in distance learning.” The prospect of seeing friends and going back to something more closely resembling regular life after almost a year of being isolated was initially met with an enthusiastic response. 

Despite initial enthusiasm, many students aren’t ready for April testing and social interaction.  Depression and anxiety have been developed by many students all over. Returning to school might increase these feelings.

Mr. Scholz, an English teacher at Sultana described his feelings of the possible hybrid return, “I’d feel so much more at ease if the pandemic was truly under control before bringing a large number of people back together… I’m very apprehensive about the idea of returning to ‘normal’ without actually working through all of the built up stress, anxiety, grief, frustration, and whatever other stuff has been piling up for the last year.” Mr. Scholz makes a great point. Students and staff may not all be at ease after everything they have experienced throughout this pandemic. 

Despite his reservations, Mr. Scholz lists many aspects he is excited about with our upcoming return: “Being able to see and interact with students face to face will be amazing- especially because there are so many students that I don’t know at all even though we’ve had months of online instruction. Being able to do some of my favorite lessons, which for a variety of different reasons don’t work as well in an online setting, is something I’m really excited about; online teaching is a different system than in-person teaching for sure.” 

Mrs. Sweeney, a biology teacher at Sultana is looking forward to the change: “I am very excited for our return to campus, even though it may be different from what we are used to… I believe going back/hybrid will have a positive effect on the mental health of the majority of staff and students who will be back on campus when the time comes.” Mrs. Sweeney is one of the many people who is very enthusiastic about going back to hands on, in person, learning. 

Many Sultana students are also ready for a change.  Lola Hansen, a sophomore at Sultana, states, “I really can’t do this online schooling anymore. As a student, I feel that I am drowning in work…Our mental health is slowly getting worse and we are definitely losing the motivation to do the work that is given.” With all the distractions and the isolation that come with distance learning, Sultana students are strongly affected. 

Mrs. Carlson, a teacher at Sultana, explains one of the biggest struggles of online teaching: “I like learning about each of my students and it’s been a challenge doing it distantly…I am excited to meet face to face with all of my students.” Not being able to bond with students has been hard on teachers and students alike.

While teachers have a lot to be excited for, Mr. Bird was just as enthusiastic. Mr. Bird described his feelings: “I am incredibly excited to get our students back and to see our amazing Sultans walking around campus and participating in extracurricular activities.” 

COVID- 19 has changed all of our lives. Sultana is ready to take on the challenge of hybrid and, in doing so, is ready to do its best to get us Sultans back in school.