Hybrid Schedule Hinders High School Social Lives

Lily Heddinghaus, Staff Writer

High school, under normal circumstances, is made up of equal parts learning and socializing. Friends carpool to and from school, eat lunch together, chat in the halls and collaborate on projects and assignments.

However, COVID-19 safety precautions have divided the school in half. The hybrid schedule has students with last names A-L attend school on Mondays and Wednesdays, and last names M-Z attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

This divide has separated students from their friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, and teammates.

Senior Celie Arnett participates in chamber choir, which has rehearsals split between A and B days.

“It’s hard, especially in chamber, to be separated from some of your friends because so much of that group is based on friendship and really getting to know everyone even better than you did before,” Arnett said.

Arnett and her chamber friends have found creative and safe ways to meet outside of school.

“To stay in touch, me and my friends have been having a lot of picnics in different parks,” Arnett said. “It’s fun to just hang out and talk to each other, especially when I’ve been missing them a lot.”

At school, Arnett can’t be so creative. With fewer students in each classroom and 6 feet between desks, Arnett finds meeting new people difficult.

“It’s harder to make friends in some of my classes because we can’t go anywhere near each other to introduce ourselves or say hi,” Arnett said.

Sophomore Maggie Terry and her carpool buddies are also separated by the hybrid schedule.

“I am having a hard time finding a ride to school,” Terry said. “The girls that took me to school last year lived so close to me, but they go to school on the opposite days now. It has been hard on me. It makes getting up for school a lot less exciting.”

Terry believes the hybrid schedule has changed the attitude of the entire student body.

“I have noticed people seem a lot less happy to be at school, and everyone always seems down and exhausted,” Terry said.

Senior Jackson Hentz agrees.

“I prefer to come to school rather than not coming at all, but when you walk in the doors every day, and you’re like ‘oh well, half the people I want to see aren’t here’ it does kind of put a damper on the mood,” Hentz said. “I feel like the whole mood of the school has changed. It’s quieter in classes, no one wants to answer questions or even talk. I’m guilty of it too.”

Hentz and his girlfriend, Ava Zeller, are on opposite school days.

“Ava and I going to school on different days really sucks because I looked forward to getting to see her at school every day. Now that we go on different days, we’ve struggled to find time to spend with each other,” Hentz said. “The bottom line is I feel more motivated when she’s there.”

Although the school year hasn’t had a smooth start, Hentz noticed students and teachers helping each other get through this hard time.

“I think a positive of the hybrid schedule is the way the teachers and students have interacted. It feels more like a team,” Hentz said. “The teacher wants to help the student, and I feel like all of us genuinely want to help the teachers and just try to make this semester as seamless as possible so that it can feel like normal.”