Opinion: Hybrid should remain an option

Hayley O'Dell

On April 12, Westwood Regional High School updated their system for COVID-19 safety. Before April 12, Westwood had three options for students for attending school: in-person, hybrid, and virtual. Now there are only two options: in-person and virtual. 

With the original plan, the school split the student population into two groups based on last name. Group A would go into school Mondays, Wednesdays, and every other Friday. Group B would go into school Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other Friday. This would lessen the number of people in the school to make it safer. If you didn’t want to do hybrid, you could do virtual or in-person. Virtual school just means that you were doing school at home full time. In-person would mean that you can go to school every day. 

The majority of the student population in the High School chose virtual schooling, and the least amount of students chose in-person. But with the change on April 12, hybrid was no longer an option.

Even though hybrid wasn’t the most popular option, taking it away isn’t the safest choice. Right now, COVID-19 numbers are much higher than what can be considered safe. With spring in full force and many students still being involved in sports, there is a very high chance for there to be an outbreak at the school. 

The hybrid option was the safest choice for students that still wanted to come to school because there are fewer people, which lowers the chance to get the virus. With the separation of the student population into the two groups, it makes it easier for contact tracing and allows the other students in the other group to still be allowed to come into school because they haven’t been exposed. 

Now, with only having in-person or virtual, that can make going to school a less safe environment. The two groups are now one big group, and going to school every day means that there are more people in the school. If a student gets COVID-19, then everyone going to school has to quarantine and get tested, whereas if hybrid was still an option, it would just be the one group that the person was in that would have to quarantine. 

Some people might say, if you don’t like being in-person, then you should just go virtual. For some people, that isn’t the best option. If you learn better in person but still want to feel safe, hybrid would be the better option. But with that taken away, you are forced to choose between safety and mental stability with school.

Safety should be one of the most important things that the school is thinking about for their students and staff. If the school felt pressure from some of the parents, they could have had a better plan than having everyone come in on the same day if they did want to come into school and have somewhat of a normal experience.