Do students still want to begin hybrid learning?


Photo by Flora Thompson

Waipahu High School students will continue learning from home through the third quarter.

Ava Thompson and Flora Thompson

Waipahu High School students have continued school fully online this semester, and according to a December 4 announcement on the school website, they “will be extending full virtual [learning] from the end of the first semester to the end of the third quarter (March 12, 2021).”

We have surveyed 176 Waipahu High School students about their preferences related to online or hybrid learning. 58% of surveyed students still want to start hybrid classes later this year, while the other 42% are satisfied with online learning. 

Most students who want to start hybrid learning next quarter either want to go back to see their friends, or are having trouble focusing now that class is all online. Jolene Palijo is a a freshman at Waipahu High School who is doing full distance learning with the Edmentum online learning program. Palijo says, “It’s harder to learn personally just from the lesson.” A lot of students who commented on our survey agreed with her, saying,It is easier to learn in person than over online,” and “It is […] a distraction in my house. I can never focus on the task.” Students also really want to see their friends and teachers face to face to socialize.

Despite the fact that a lot of students want to come back to school for hybrid learning, some students won’t have the opportunity to. Full distance learners signed an agreement at the beginning of the year saying that they would not attend school on campus. Palijo says, “If I had the option to switch to hybrid classes, I would switch immediately.” However, she adds, “Even if the hybrid learners do go back, [full distance learners] wouldn’t go back, just because of what we signed.”

Some students, on the other hand, are happy with full distance learning and want to continue it later this year. They like being able to enjoy the comforts of home, as well as getting more sleep and waking up later.

On our survey, students who prefer online learning said, “I feel more comfortable learning at home,” and “When I’m at home I’m more relaxed.” 

Some students like Kai Deguzman, a freshman attending virtual classes at Waialua High and Intermediate School, believe that they wouldn’t like hybrid learning because it just wouldn’t be the same experience as normal school. Deguzman says, “As a hybrid, I would hate it because you only see half of the people there. Most of my friends [would] go on a different day.”

One surveyed student agreed with Deguzman for the same reason: “It makes me sad because I’m in a group with none of my friends so I don’t have a lot of motivation to go to school if I have no one to hang out with. They’re all in Group A or D. I know the school is taking precautions, but I think it’s better if they keep it to online learning until next school year.”

Whether or not students want to come back to school in the future, it all comes down to what is safe for students and what is not. As Waipahu High School Principal Keith Hayashi says, “We realize that ideally the best scenario is for all of our students to be back ‘in-person’ with their teachers, but we must also prioritize the health and safety of everyone within our school community.”