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Head to Head: Fridays At Home or In School

As an effort to balance the week between in-person and online schooling, Hebrew Academy has decided that for the Fridays of November, school will be held over Zoom. Two students discuss their personal opinions on the matter below.


Fridays Classes Should Be Online

By: Naomi Ohana (11th Grade)

Despite the strong desire to keep schools open permanently, having a day for students, teachers, and administrators to attend school and work over Zoom is a wise decision. Zoom grants a sense of safety and security from the virus. Allowing for students to have a stress free day of schooling enhances their learning experience. Additionally, by reducing the amount of days the school is open, we are in turn reducing the risk of contraction.

Anyone who has spent even an hour wearing a mask knows how exhausting it can be.

Many students feel that a break from in-person learning is improving their overall mood and wellbeing, as online school offers flexible hours and breaks for students and teachers to get work done or relax. Being on Zoom provides students with more personal time and a later start to the day. Sleeping an hour later has tremendous health benefits as it allows your body and mind to regenerate. Furthermore, many students have felt that a day online has allowed them to eat a proper breakfast in the morning and fit in time for exercise, all while balancing their school work.

One group of people who has felt the stress and extra work of returning to school in-person is the faculty. Periods that teachers would normally have free to grade or prepare are now spent monitoring students in the halls of school. They feel tremendous stress knowing that the students’ health is in their hands. They are forced to shout their lessons through masks just to be heard by every student. They also have to remember to ensure students both at home and in-school are active throughout the class.

Having a day at home also allows the building to be cleaned and kept as safe as possible. If we allocate one day a week to give the building a deep cleaning, then we can return on Mondays to a fresh environment. Obviously the school is cleaned daily, but a true deep cleaning can be extremely beneficial and stop the possible spread in school.

As hard as the teachers have been trying, students who have chosen to stay home and work remotely have felt a disadvantage in their education. As the TVs are placed in the back of the classroom, students have felt left out and unengaged. Therefore, having school online one day a week levels the playing field and helps better engage those students who have not been able to have a real class experience the preceding weekdays.

Although I believe in-person learning is far superior in the long run, giving students and teachers a break from the stresses and challenges that in-person learning and teaching pose is extremely important, and in fact, essential for helping to ensure that we will be able to continue learning in person in the long run .

Friday Classes Should Be In Person

By: Kayla Herssein (10th Grade)

While it does have its benefits, I believe that having the Middle School and High School on Zoom on Fridays is definitely not a practical system overall. It removes the promised in-person school experience that so many students chose and fails to deliver what it set out to accomplish.

With virtual Fridays, the students who decided to attend in-person school are not getting the full in-person experience that they signed up for. Whether it was their decision or their parents’ decision, the students were given a choice of going to school online or in person, and it is only logical that those who signed up for in-person school receive what they were enrolled in. According to an email sent out by the school, this system was designed to reduce stress for teachers and students, as well as make the remote students feel less divided from their in-person peers. Yet, it does not make sense to send the majority of the students home for the reason that the minority of the Zoom students feel secluded.

There are many reasons why the students who chose to go to school in person made this decision. A main reason would be for the social environment that school in person provides. When at home on Zoom all day, you are alone and therefore socially inactive. This is probably the most unpleasant part of Zoom school, in addition to the fact that you are staring at a screen all day. It gets hard to focus at times, and you severely lack a change in atmosphere. Learning in person makes for a better educational environment, because it allows there to be a distinguishing factor between your home and school. Zoom on Fridays obviously cancels out the benefits of in-person school, and this leads to a general lack of focus among the students as well as a loss of the social atmosphere. Although virtual Fridays were meant to reduce stress, the isolation and increased screen time actually adds more stress.

I strongly believe that it is very important for students to be able to have the option to learn in person every day of the week. It does not make sense that one day of the week is online for the High School and Middle School. I personally hope that Zoom Fridays are only temporary due to the many dilemmas that it brings up.

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