Mixed opinions as full HyFlex program gets underway

9th+graders+in+a+mask+break+at+school.+Photo+from+Burkes+instagram.

9th graders in a mask break at school. Photo from Burke’s instagram.

As Burke’s full HyFlex program begins, following the three-week pilot program, students have expressed a range of opinions about whether or not the school was rushing too much into reopening. The HyFlex program offers an in-person experience four days a week for grades 6-7 and two days a week for grades 8-12. The school rolled this out to the full student body after a pilot program involving only sixth and ninth grades. Some students decided to participate in the HyFlex program, while others opted out and decided to continue online for either reasons related to covid concerns or preference. 

Some students participating in the HyFlex system prefer the hybrid option over online school due to social reasons, and they feel as though the education generally seems to be the same as online. Phoenix Gault-Brown ‘24 explained that his reasons for participating in the Hyflex system have to do with boredom and lack of social interaction. He said, “The reason I am participating is because I miss my friends and it’s boring at home.” Although Gault-Brown prefers the hybrid option over the online option, he noted the downside of outdoor mask breaks. “It is way too cold to be outside for 30 minutes,” he said. 

On the other hand, some who decided not to participate in the HyFlex program for covid related reasons are afraid the school is rushing into reopening and not taking necessary precautions. Graham Vinyard ‘24 expressed his worries, explaining that he feels as though recent surges seem to have been ignored. “In the not so recent past, cases have been surging,” he said. “However, it seems to me that these surges had been ignored.” Vinyard’s other concerns have to do with contact tracing and the flaws in attempting to socially distance in a school setting.“I think it is easier, in theory, to say ‘six feet,’ especially in this school setting, than to put it into practice,” he said. “Contact tracing and research…..generally seems to be ignored.” Vinyard further explained his unease, stating that he would feel unsafe due to the seemingly sudden rush into reopening.  “I do think that the school is being a bit hasty in reopening procedures. I definitely would not have the confidence in the system to feel safe. I do not support the in-person aspect of the HyFlex program,” he said.

Still others, even those that aren’t concerned about the school’s covid procedures, prefer to stay online because they simply feel as though there doesn’t seem to be a point to the HyFlex system.  A male student, who preferred to stay anonymous, explained how he felt the pilot system was entirely disappointing and extremely confining. The student participated in the pilot program and expressed discomfort in the lunch policy and in the system itself. “I only went for a few days, I was not very impressed seeing only a few of my classmates. The system of eating lunch on the floor of the atrium felt very uncomfortable,” he said. After his irritation with the pilot system, he decided to not participate in the Hyflex system for the simple reason that it just didn’t seem to be worth it. “The learning was very confined in the classroom while at the school; no one really talked,” he said.  He felt that even though he definitely would prefer pre-covid in-person school, during covid times, Burke just purely provided no reason that hybrid would be better than online. 

While there are certainly a variety of students who crave the in-person aspect of the HyFlex system, other students are more concerned about safety and don’t feel as though it’s worth the risk.