Middle school to attend a third day of in-person learning


photo courtesy of Rebecca Safra

After spring break, middle school will expand on-campus learning from two to three days.

Julia Rich, Guest Writer

Middle school students will be attending classes on-campus for a third day each week starting April 12. Since December, both middle and high school students attended classes on campus for two days each week, leaving the building empty on Fridays.

“We’re [middle school] going to come back Monday, Thursday and Friday which makes sense if high school has Tuesday, Wednesday,” middle school principal Eliana Lipsky said.

Given the high school’s block schedule, going in two days in a row, Tuesday and Wednesday, allows teachers and students to go through all of their class periods once. A third day would mean students could attend another cycle of some of their classes, but not all.

In addition to logistical reasons, older students can manage distance learning better.

“Our priority as a school is to make sure younger students get in as much as possible because all of the research shows that they struggle with the learning the most when it’s distant,” Goldstein said.

According to Goldstein, another factor in determining how many students can be in the building at once is the school’s physical size. The number of in-person days grades are receiving a week is primarily based on the capacity of the school building, as well as guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’d like to get the maximum number of students in the maximum number of days to maximize everyone’s experience,” Goldstein said.

Students are also eager to return to school more regularly. Junior Dalia Hochstein, who attends school in the building said that she is a little disappointed that the middle school will be getting another in-person day and not the high school.

“I understand it just because I know that they’re younger and that they would probably do better with in-person school,” Hochstein said. “But it’s a little annoying. I would rather be in school more.”

While many middle-schoolers plan to attend in-person school three days a week, some prefer to stay at home.

“We have some students who have thrived in the virtual platform so much so that they have actually opted out of coming on campus because they have found that it’s really benefited them,” Lipsky said. “And then we have other students who have been really struggling in the virtual platform and wishing that we could be in five days a week.”

Even though high school students will not be getting more in-person days at this time, Goldstein said it may be possible to have more in-person school days next year.

“It could be that the health department changes,” Goldstein said. “Changes what they’re seeing because the data is skewing in a different way for good or bad, I’m hoping good.”

There are a lot of unknowns about the upcoming months, though the school is working hard to get every student in the building all five days every week next year.

“We are all trying to do our best to get students in as much as possible,” Goldstein said. “I wish we had more space…but the safety and health guidelines don’t allow for that but given what we have I think we are doing the best that we can.”