H-F is Returning to Campus for Hybrid Learning

H-F+Principal+Jerry+Anderson+presents+the+school%27s+plan+to+bring+students+back+to+campus+to+the+school+board+at+the+special+meeting+on+Feb.3.+Monday+will+begin+the+school%27s+transition+to+2B+on+photographed+schedule.

Screenshot by The Voyager

H-F Principal Jerry Anderson presents the school’s plan to bring students back to campus to the school board at the special meeting on Feb.3. Monday will begin the school’s transition to 2B on photographed schedule.

Desiree Barnett, News Writer

On March 2, H-F students will return to campus for hybrid learning.

This decision was made during a special board meeting on Feb. 3. The vote was unanimous amongst board members to bring students back to campus.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Cook County has a positivity rate of 4.1% as of Feb. 20, and is currently on a downward trend. This helped the school administration and board determine if and when students could return.

Teachers returned to campus on Feb. 22 to prepare for the new learning model. While teachers prepared for the new model, students participated in asynchronous learning.

At the special board meeting, business manager Lawrence Cook said that the school expects 98 percent of teachers to come back. According to director of human resources Jodi Bryant, 2 percent of teachers will not be returning due to personal health reasons and family concerns. 

Gary Posing, H-F’s technology director and scheduling subcommittee member, said that 33 percent of students have opted-in for hybrid learning.

“Of those 33% of students, we’ve divided those up into the A, B, C and D group, and in those groups, they are evenly divided. Right now, that gives us a class size of about 2-4,” Posing said.

By March 16, the school is looking to have 50 percent of the student body back. At that point groups will combine: Group A will join Group C, and Group B will join group D.

“When we combine into the A/C and B/D [groups], then we’re going [to have class sizes of about] 4-8 [students per class],” Posing said.

On Feb. 12, students found out which group they are in. Students can still check their group by going to the “Student Self-Health Certification Form” in the Student section of the H-F website. Students should use their H-F email address to sign in, and can find the groups listed under “My Info.”

The process of arrival is intricate. Before arriving at school students must fill out a self certification form. They must present their completed form to their bus driver or to security as they enter the building. The form must be presented before entering the building as well.

“If they have not successfully cleared the process, then the box will turn red,” said activities director and transition subcommittee member Gail Smith. If the box turns red or students have any symptoms they should stay home.

If they are riding the bus or getting dropped off students are expected to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes prior to the first class of the day. Students who arrive earlier will be asked to wait outside.

“As far as being able to come early–as far as being able to social distance outside—that is really going to depend on the cooperation of our students to do that,” principal Jerry Anderson said.

There are two designated arrival doors for each building. In the South Building students may enter from Door 1 or Door 12. In the North Building the atrium and Door E will be accessible.

Before entering the building students’ temperature will be taken and masks, provided by students’ parents, must be worn covering the mouth and nose. 

 According to Smith, “Students who are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons will have an individual accommodation.”

If students are unwilling to wear their masks properly and there are no medical accomodations in place, there will be consequences.

“If they do continue to take their mask off, then that student would go in to talk to Mr. Fantin or Dr. Dillard and their parents would be able to pick them up and they would be able to be home because we’re not going to have people at school who are endangering other students,”Anderson said.

After the third quarter ends students and parents will have another chance to opt-in for hybrid.

“We are going to be resurveying the families for the fourth quarter to see if there’s more students that want to join in on the hybrid or some that maybe decided that they want to stay remote,” Posing said. 

At the beginning of the fourth quarter we have spring break starting March 29 and ending April 5. The first immediate week, all students will be doing e-learning.

“[We’re doing this] for any students and families that are traveling, to do a little bit of built-in quarantine to keep the students safer. We understand that a majority or a lot of the faculty will have the vaccine in them at that point, but we still have to be concerned about our students and keeping them safe,” Noble said. 

After that week of quarantine, the schedule will return back to H-F’s hybrid schedule.

For more information surrounding COVID and the school’s response to the virus, visit H-F’s COVID Dashboard on the website.