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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Key Takeaways From The Hybrid Learning Q&A

Illustration Courtesy of Clara Mello

With WIS’ return to in-person learning rapidly approaching, the administration has organized a series of student and parent Q&A’s in order to address the various questions of the WIS community in this unprecedented period. Here, Dateline has outlined the main takeaways from the September 29th Q&A.

Prevention of and Protocol for COVID-19 Cases in the Community :

Why is WIS not requiring testing for returning students and faculty?

Ms. Polland explained that testing students upon return to school has been a discussion throughout the WIS community. Testing the entire community would bring logistical issues. On top of that, the testing isn’t viable for an extended period of time, as one could pick up the virus at any time after their test. Therefore, WIS will not be requiring testing upon the return to school. “You know, it’s one data point after you get that test, and you go to the grocery store. Is it still valid?,” Polland said. 

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How is WIS tracking COVID cases in the community? 

WIS will be utilizing the Department of Health (DoH) recommendations when tracking COVID-19 cases. If a positive case arrives, the DoH will determine which members of the community are informed, likely students and teachers in direct contact with the positive case. Polland outlined that the community will need to have trust in the system of tracing, and in community correspondence with COVID-19 guidelines for this system to run effectively. 

How will students be held accountable for their actions outside of school?

WIS has limited control over students’ actions outside of school, however, Polland stated that if administrators became aware of large social gatherings between cohorts, disciplinary action would be taken. Various methods for accountability were brought up during the Q&A, however, there is currently no system for reporting CDC and WIS guideline violations. Polland outlined that WIS’s current model operates largely on trust, and the responsibility of all members of the WIS community have in upholding safe practices. 

Operation of Learning :

What will learning look like for students at-home ? 

For students participating in online school, either during their off-weeks or full time, they can expect a model relatively similar to the current situation. Students will log into classes via Zoom for 1, 3, 5, and 6 periods, and will continue to learn asynchronously during periods 2 and 4. They will be able to participate in class discussion while online, and there will be teacher training as to how this dual-model will be operated. 

Are there any specific plans for Class of 2021, considering they have a significantly higher rate of students doing full online than other grades?

As the Class of 2021 is an anomaly in regards to the proportion of students continuing with full online learning, the suggestion for a meeting between administrators and the Senior class was suggested during the Q&A. Mr.Bourke promised to follow up on this suggestion, and the Senior class can expect this kind of meeting in the near future. 

How will second and fourth period classes (asynchronous classes) operate? 

Students in the at school cohort will be reporting to classrooms to ensure students are accounted for. Students in the at-home cohort will do work from home while having a break from zoom. Students in both cohorts will do their assigned work for the asynchronous class during this time slot. 

How will outdoor classes work? 

Vocal and instrumental music classes will have priority over the tented spaces outside, which are located on the Basketball Court and by the Carriage House. WiFi is being extended to these areas to ensure the classes can run over zoom, and therefore be a sustainable method of having effective arts instruction. The administration is also recommending teachers utilize outdoor space during asynchronous periods. 

Operation of Campus Life :

How will students eat outside in colder weather? 

WIS has outlined indoor or tented seating areas for each grade level in the event of rain or extreme cold, however has no long-term plans for indoor dining. Unless the weather is extremely cold, eating will be predominantly outside and students will be encouraged to dress appropriately. 

Will there be assigned seating for lunches? 

Though classrooms will have assigned seating, this does not extend into lunches. Though students will eat with their grade, they can sit with whoever they would like to within their year group. Each grade has a designated outside eating area, which will be marked upon return to campus. 

How will club meetings be organized? 

Due to the challenges of the twice a week club slot during community time, club meetings will begin to take place after school. The administration will create a schedule with a room assignment for each club that accommodates the number of participants and ensures social distancing. As WIS transitions to the hybrid model, clubs will not be hosted the first week of hybrid from October 5 to 9. Clubs can communicate with the administration for any needs they have during hybrid learning. Clubs can additionally create a zoom call between two classrooms if they have more than the allotted amount of people (maximum of 12 but dependent on room size) in one cohort. 

What will students do during flex/free periods? 

During flex periods, students in eleventh and twelfth grade will be allowed to use the Slounge and Davies Hall. There will be markings on the furniture where students are allowed to sit. Additionally, if Davies and the Slounge are at capacity students can use either the outdoor space, the Library or the Student Center, unless they’re already being used for a class. 

As information pertaining to hybrid learning becomes available, Dateline will continue with coverage on social media and our website, so stay tuned for more to come!

By Beka Tatham and Rose Boehm

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