A Fresh Start to Hybrid


Students sit socially distanced in the cafeteria.

An authentic “first day of high school” is something that is hard to come by during COVID-19, but as hybrid began, freshmen were finally able to attend “normal school.” Well, at least for a few days.

On Thursday, Nov. 12  and Friday, Nov. 13, the high school received their first wave of freshmen. For the past few months, teachers and students have worked hard to make sure that the high school was as safe and orderly as possible for the health and education of the students. While many were nervous about going back to school during the pandemic, most can agree that the freshmen were the most overwhelmed.

Incoming freshman Hope Jacobus voiced her concerns. She said, “If I’m being honest, I’m scared. I will be entering a whole new environment while COVID is still spreading at a high level. Not only will I have to get used to where classes are located, but I will also have to worry about masks along with other COVID-related things.” 

Link Crew leaders welcome freshmen into the school for the first time in person.

Going to a new school is momentous for all new freshmen, and teachers tried to make sure that the class of 2024 got the best experience they could give. Freshman Jocelyn Kozen explained, “My teacher has given us multiple chances to ask questions about going back, and has also made sure to give us as much information as possible so there aren’t any surprises when we get there.”

Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 were meant to be a tour-like welcome to the school where freshmen could find their way throughout the school without the chaos of the upperclassmen.

The staff turned the stairs and hallways into a one-way traveling route and changed the passing times between classes from four minutes to eight so that the students would be as comfortable and safe as possible. 

One of the staple moments for a freshman is getting to experience Link Crew and connect with Link Crew leaders. To ensure their first day was as memorable as possible, the Link Crew continued with their original plans and included their welcoming ceremony into their day.

Freshman Avery Daniels explained that, “Everyone one was in the auditorium and was given time to talk, and then we went with our groups and did some get-to-know-each-other activities.” Although they did not get to take part in more hands-on activities, they did not miss out on the high school tradition.

Teachers use televisions with cameras for students at home to be “in class.”

The Robotics team also played a big role in ensuring the warm welcome of not only the class of 2024, but the rest of the school as well by setting up TVs in each room to create an interactive environment for students at home. Sophomore Sreeprada Alladi said, “The TVs give you a much better view of what is going on in the classroom and what the teachers are showing. That can help the freshmen get better acquainted with how the teachers teach, give them a closer connection to the teachers (which is difficult to accomplish virtually) and have a more comfortable learning environment.”

While many are excited for this new experience, there are many freshmen who have decided to stay at home and continue with virtual learning. Lots of students have found that learning at home is more comfortable and manageable. Freshman Sneha Indrakanti in Cohort C said, “I am not going back into the building because I am capable of learning at home and working in a more familiar environment. Another reason is because I am worried that there will be flare-ups of COVID-19 at some point, and I want to stay safe.”

The high school has worked hard to ensure that no 2024 Hatter missed out on their freshman experience despite the major bumps in the road. While hybrid had come to an end so soon, the Hatter spirit refused to falter that easily. 

Like Hope Jacobus said, “Although all these things will affect my first year of high school, I will still be positive!”