School revises hybrid learning plan in post-spring break schedule


Friends Seminary Communications

The new schedule offers in-person Upper School classes twice a week under a rotating schedule. Class plans for each day will be designated by four colors.

Beatrice Moyers, Senior Editor

Friends Seminary announced that after Spring Break, upper schoolers will have the option to attend school in-person twice a week. There will be four different daily schedules that rotate across a two-week period. 

The school plans to welcome two full divisions of students on campus at the same time. This curricular change means that upper schoolers will be able to attend in-person classes with either the entire Middle School or entire Lower School on campus as well. 

This new schedule is a departure from the current schedule, in which upper schoolers are almost completely virtual for some weeks and are completely in-person for others. Now, upper schoolers can attend school in-person every Wednesday and Friday. 

According to Will Hopkins, Academic Dean, the administration made the schedule change in response to feedback from community members. Under the current schedule, “the long periods of virtual time were harder on everyone than we realized they would be,” Hopkins said. 

Hopkins also cited the need for consistency as a factor in the administration’s decision. Having the same in-person days each week is “important for families that need to build their lives outside of school based on what the program is at school,” Hopkins said. 

Zachary Dill ‘23 agreed that having two days in person each week marked an improvement over the old schedule. “It makes life a little more predictable and a little easier than it normally is,” he said. 

Bryson Brunson ‘21, who does not attend school in-person, also feels that the new schedule is preferable. “The full weeks of people being in person does get a little lonely because you miss out on those little personable moments that everyone else is experiencing,” Brunson said. “I feel like this is definitely a less isolating plan.” 

Under the new rotating schedule, classes will no longer meet on the same days every week. Each of four daily schedules is designated by a specific color- Red, Blue, Green, or Yellow. The day that each color corresponds to will rotate each week. This means that the day of the week that students follow a Red schedule, for example, will be different every week. 

According to Hopkins, the rotating schedule was necessary in order to address scheduling issues. If the same classes always met each day, some classes would end up meeting in-person more often than others. This inconsistency has made it difficult for teachers to plan lessons. “If you’re the chemistry teacher and you teach three sections of chemistry, to have one of them be always virtual and the other one more in person, how do you have consistent plans and activities for the two sections?” Hopkins said. 

Although the post-Spring Break plan will change students’ daily schedules, it will not change the amount of time that upper schoolers are at school in-person. According to Hopkins, the importance of social distancing meant that administrators had to limit upper schoolers’ time on campus.

Uncertainty about the potential impacts of new COVID-19 variants made the school even more hesitant to relax safety measures.“We have very carefully followed the government agencies that report numbers and issue guidelines for schools,” Hopkins said. 

According to Jenny Levine ‘24, many students are eager to attend school on-campus. “I think most people are just happy to be going in because it’s just a lot nicer to go in,” she said. Even though she wishes there was more in-person time, according to Levine, “in the situation that we’re in, they’re doing the best job possible.” 

Although the amount of time upper schoolers have on-campus will not change, the number of students on campus at any given time will be larger. The school was not previously able to welcome two divisions to campus at once. 

After spring break, the school will invite kindergarten to second graders to campus five days a week, third to fourth graders four days a week, middle schoolers three times a week, and upper schoolers twice a week (Friends Seminary Communications)

School Nurse Katie Cardell cited the school’s ability to hold activities outdoors as an important factor in that decision. “Anytime something’s outdoors, that always adds an extra layer of safety that we can use bringing more people on so that we can use more space that we haven’t been able to use in the winter,” she said. 

The school’s permit to use the street space on 16th Street and Rutherford Place has been extended to the end of the school year, providing extra space for students. “That got us sort of over a threshold so that rather than being able to have one division plus a couple of grades on campus, we’re able to have two full divisions come to campus at the same time,” Hopkins explained. 

Although the pandemic still poses a real threat, Friends community members expressed optimism about the post-Spring Break reopening plan. 

“I’m just really hopeful that we’re just going to continue to see the numbers go down and bring a little bit more normalcy in the school so that when you guys are on campus, it feels a bit more like a normal school year,” Cardell said. “Even with the masking and the distancing.”