Photo by Vivian Reed
Ever since Pinewood closed its doors on March 13 due to COVID-19, one question was the center of attention: When can we return to the classroom? The answer? Now. Santa Clara County has given Pinewood and other schools the green light to open.
Pinewood’s plan for re-entry is a hybrid model where the students spend half their week learning remotely and the other half on campus. Beginning Oct. 26, most students will be back on campus two days a week; the “green” cohort will attend classes in person, while the “gold cohort” will attend on Thursdays and Fridays.
The administration has put numerous safety measures in place. All members of the Pinewood community have to abide by on-campus rules, further minimizing the chance of COVID-19 penetrating its boundaries. Many students and teachers are already preparing to shift gears, getting ready to transition into a new environment.
Pinewood faculty in particular are working in overdrive as this new system entails incorporating two groups of students, remote and hybrid, into one class.
Writing and Literature teacher Ellie Pojarska is hopeful that things will go smoothly. “I’m looking forward to meeting all my students, particularly my sophomores because I haven’t taught them before. Remote has been a surreal experience and I’m sure all of us are looking for human interaction more than ever, [The teachers] owe it to the students to try [hybrid],” Pojarska said. “Given the measures Pinewood is taking to ensure our safety, there are no concerns healthwise, mainly over the teaching and learning experience. One thing I hope the students know about us teachers is that we are also overwhelmed. Any form of feedback or suggestions helps greatly.”
Chemistry teacher Sarah Prestwood said she feels that flexibility is key. “I definitely feel comfortable knowing everyone is getting tested. In chemistry especially it’ll be good to do labs in school due to accessibility to materials. I hope no one gets sick and that these feelings of isolation from staying indoors gets better,” Prestwood said. “I hope the students know to be flexible: if an assignment is missing, let us know immediately. Hybrid will drain us both physically and mentally and it is important to make the best out of it.”