Combined cohorts and CDC guidelines allow for 4-day school schedule starting April 26

Just four weeks after the start of hybrid learning, SJUSD students will move to a four-day hybrid schedule, an exciting step in returning to normalcy for students and staff.

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Photo By Emma Hutchinson

Currently sparsely populated, there will soon be more students in teacher Michael Mahoney’s A-wing classroom as Cohorts A and B merge and students come on campus 4 days a week. Desks will still remain the appropriate distance of 3 feet away as recommended by new CDC guidelines.

After four weeks in a 2-day hybrid schedule, all SJUSD K-12 students will return to campus 4 days a week, on April 26, the district announced Tuesday. The decision comes after a successful return to partially in-person learning and new guidelines from the CDC regarding spacing in the classroom.

Senior Lucy Prieto is looking forward to the opportunity to finish out her last few months of high school in person with her peers.

“I’m excited for the 4 day hybrid schedule because I really enjoy being in person for school,” Prieto said. “I’m really glad we had the chance to return in person for the last bit of my senior year and it is really nice to be able to see people and experience my last couple months of high school.”

The new schedule combines cohorts A and B, allowing that group of students to be on campus four days a week as opposed to the current two. Cohort C will remain online four days a week in the afternoon. 

The most recent set of recommendations for schools from the CDC make the combining of cohorts and increased number of students on campus possible. The guidelines say that students should be three feet away from each other at all times, which is half of the previously required six feet. This would allow classrooms to hold almost a full class of students.

 “When you put the desks together, where somebody sits and where the next seat is at is three feet,” said Principal Brain Ginter. “So we can actually put the desks in the classroom like normal and have everyone in classrooms.”

In terms of what classes they attend each day, students’ schedules would stay the same. 

There will still be three classes a day with the first three on Mondays and Thursdays and the last three on Tuesdays and Fridays. For all cohorts, Wednesday will remain a day of asynchronous learning.

    Though this schedule does not add more instructional minutes, it could help students ease back into coming to school more often and getting comfortable on campus. 

    “You really wouldn’t gain any time in the classroom, all you’re gaining is the fact that you’re here on campus every day,” Ginter said. “In person, you start to build back up that in-person experience and get used to being back on campus all the time.” 

    Sophomore Maelyn Hutchinson says more time on campus will help students reacclimate to the school schedule that was used pre-pandemic and is planned for use in the 2021-22 school year. She also acknowledges the additional social benefits of more time on campus.

    “I think it will be good to have a more regular class size which will help us be able to socialize with our classmates, especially for freshmen who are at a new school,” Hutchinson said. “I’m excited to do more collaborative work in class not being limited behind a screen.”

    The change will take effect at the end of the month, a faster implementation time than the original return to school because no new requirements or rearrangements have to take place, the district simply has to give warning to families and complete negotiations with the union. 

    This schedule gives students and staff the chance to gain more time on campus while still maintaining health and safety protocols. It shows promising strides towards the return to normality for students, teachers, and administrators.

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