Voyager Sits Down with Principal Jerry Lee Anderson

On+March+2%2C+students+will+begin+hybrid+learning.+Principal+Jerry+Lee+Anderson+sat+down+with+us+to+answer+the+student+body%27s+questions.+

By Emma Murphy

On March 2, students will begin hybrid learning. Principal Jerry Lee Anderson sat down with us to answer the student body’s questions.

Emma Murphy and Faith Lee

In our remote setting, it’s hard to stay connected. Between the schedule changes and constant reminders from Google Classroom, as students, we sometimes find ourselves confused about the school’s latest updates. We set out to clear up any confusion.

Since hybrid learning begins on March 2, we sat down with Principal Jerry Lee Anderson to get the 411 on all things hybrid. 

How will teachers teach both an in-person class and an online class simultaneously?

“There are a lot of different ways teachers can do that. Teachers have been having professional development about [teaching in-person and online classes at the same time]. They may want to have concurrent instruction where they are doing everything with everybody online and in-person at the same time. They may want to do groups where they have all the people online doing one thing and the people in person doing another thing and the teacher would switch back and forth between the groups.” 

What are the metrics the H-F community must stay at to keep the school open?

“All along we have been working with metrics and working to be below 5 percent [test positivity rate]. We have been ranging between 5 and 8 percent and at one point we were way above 8 percent and that’s why we were not having school. We look at the test positivity, we look at the weekly count of new youth cases and the weekly new case rate which has significantly gone down over the last few weeks. As much as possible we want to be in the minimum range, sometimes we might fluctuate between minimum and moderate, but we don’t want to be in the substantial range.”

Some students and their families may want to travel during spring break. To keep our school safe, will we be fully remote for a period of time after spring break? 

“We will be remote for one week after spring break. We are going to make sure everyone is remote the following week after spring break.”

Will students who are in the building still have a little extra time walking from third floor North to A Building or vice versa?

“There will not be hundreds of people on the path for [students] to navigate through. What students always said to me was one of the reasons that makes getting between North and South Buildings difficult is the number of people on the path. [So that] problem is alleviated. Teachers, I’m sure, will be understanding as we go through this new bell schedule.”

How is the school planning on socially distancing students on the path and in the hallway?

“I think a better question is how are students going to commit to social distancing themselves on the path and in the hallway, so that we can all keep ourselves safe and continue to have in-person learning. To come back to school requires a level of cooperation and commitment from all of us to keep [each other] safe.”

Will clubs begin to meet in-person instead of online when we begin the hybrid learning?

“Probably not right away. There are still going to be a number of things that stay remote. My faculty meetings are going to be remote even though we’re back. The professional learning committee and professional development meeting are all still remote because we still have some restrictions and guidelines around gathering together. It feels normal, but it’s not normal yet.”

Will the administration try to incorporate social interaction between students while maintaining CDC guidelines?

“I know there have been some online events already sponsored by our social workers. In addition to that as people come up with things we can do there will be more opportunities [for social gatherings]. As long as we follow the guidelines and keep people as safe as possible, I am, and I know the staff, is open to ideas.” 

Do students have to bring the school’s Chromebook?

“I would say for right now yes. [The school chromebook] is the only thing, right now, that can connect to the school wifi.”

Will students who can drive have to pay for a parking pass this semester?

“No, they will not.”

Will students be able to make a face-to-face appointment with their college counselor, social worker, or guidance counselor?

“That’s a good question and that’s one I don’t have an answer for right now. I know that everyone wants to get back to the way things were. One of the things we are not going to do is put ourselves in a situation to take on unnecessary risks. As long as we can have a meeting [online] and it can be effective, why not keep people safe?”

Do students have to take finals this semester? 

“I will tell you right now that there are proposals for everyone regarding finals. I am not going to tip my hand, but I want you to know that conversations about finals…for everyone are being discussed right now. You had your experience doing finals this year, so you’ve had that experience and we wouldn’t be denying you any opportunity. But a proposal should be coming out pretty soon.”

Is there a chance our schedule will change before the end of the year?

“I hope not!”

What’s the most important thing you want students to know before they come back to campus?

“I think it’s very important for students to know that although we are committed to having this in-person experience, that we all have an obligation to keep each other safe. So abiding by the guidelines we are putting in place is going to be essential for us to have these in-person experiences as much as possible. And if by chance something does occur where we have to send students home because of having close contact or something to do with COVID, then everyone abides by what is requested [of them]. Schools have been doing this for a little bit and sometimes things have happened and students had to go back to remote learning for a week or two and then come back into the school. Just prepare to be flexible and be agile, but what we are hoping we are going to do things in a way that’s not going to require that because we are going to take care of each other when it comes to being safe.”

Hybrid learning begins with group A on Tuesday, March 2. Students should bring their charged, H-F Chromebook, headphones, and any other materials they may need for their classes. Students can find out what group they are in by visiting the H-F website, click students, and then click the student health certification form. To keep the students who choose to go back to school safe, students need to wear their masks at all times and social distance in the hallway and on the path.