How Teachers at Cresskill High School Have Adapted to Hybrid Learning

As COVID-19 hit the world unexpectedly, everyone’s lives were changed.  People have lost businesses, steady sources of income, and their normal way of life.  Students lost a majority of their school year and are just getting adjusted to returning to school.  The people that haven’t been given enough credit for all they’ve done are the teachers around the world.  

As the 2020 school year begins, many aspects of the new system are different for students and teachers. Teachers at Cresskill High school have had to adapt to a new environment and help bring students back into the classrooms in a safe way. Faculty at Cresskill High school have successfully made the school a safe place and up until recently, they have had zero positive cases since opening on September 3rd. The school has been running a hybrid setup where some students attend class in person while the rest stay at home and attend class virtually. Sophomores Paul Yoon and Jack Stovall spoke to Ms. Rovito, a middle school  English teacher at Cresskill, to discuss her opinions and experiences involving the hybrid setup. 

“It’s certainly a huge adjustment for both students and teachers,” Ms. Rovito revealed. She lives with her parents, so it has been tough for her to be in school as she wants to keep her parents safe from the virus. She gets tested every weekend as a precaution and has been negative throughout the month. Ms Rovito takes many other safety cautions as well to keep her and her students safe including: the constant use of hand sanitizer, wiping down desks, and keeping distance from everyone. She mentioned that it is a challenge to keep her distance from her students because of her interactive teaching style. Ms Rovito feels as if she is having trouble building relationships with her students as many of them turn their cameras off and refuse to speak.   She has tried to keep all of her students connected by experimenting with breakout rooms between students in the classroom and at home. Although it worked well in helping students to interact with each other, technical issues were a common issue and it prevented Ms. Rovito from doing it often. 

Paul and Jack also interviewed Ms. Lynch, a high school history teacher. She said in a separate interview, “I feel it is harder to build relationships with the students during virtual lessons.’’ She feels that she is less connected with the at home students and it just isn’t the same as in the classroom. Both teachers have had similar experiences since reopening. 

On the evening of Wednesday, October 21st, the students at Cresskill High school received a phone call from the superintendent to inform them that a person in the building had tested positive for COVID-19.  This led to a complete shutdown of the school for two days, so that they could contact trace and deep clean the school. The students and teachers were able to go back on Monday and everything seemed to be going smoothly. Unfortunately, less than a week later on Monday the 26th, the teachers and students were notified that there was another case of COIVD-19, and that they would completely shut down in-person learning until November 9th. 

In response to this second closure, Ms. Rovito said, “I am still anxious about it and about the possibility of other people, including me, contracting Covid.” Many of the teachers at Cresskill are concerned that this virus has spread throughout the school district. The decision that the school made to close was the correct move. For now, we will just have to wait and see.