Harris Agrees Ac Lab, Most Classes Better in Person


Louis Williamson

Special education teacher Renee Harris is considered by students to be one of the most helpful teachers at Nonnewaug.

Louis Williamson, Reporter

WOODBURY — In September, Nonnewaug High School started on a hybrid schedule — two days in school, two days at home, all learning through school-provided Chromebooks.

Then before winter rolled in, students went all-digital, keeping everyone safe from the heightened COVID-19 threat. In January, Nonnewaug rolled out an all-physical schedule, with the only digital day being Wednesday, and students returned to a traditional-length school day starting March 1.

Naturally, classes had to adapt to the growing and changing schedule. Among the classes with the biggest adjustment was academic lab.

“It’s been a juggling act,” said academic lab teacher Renee Harris, who prefers the fully in-person format of school.

It’s been all over the place with schedule, place, and placement. In-person school makes it easiest for teachers to work with students, and it is the best for productivity.

Hybrid school was a happy medium: Harris can see students in school to work with them and to keep them focused, and she can work with them just fine digitally a couple of days a week. Being able to see the students in person half the time makes hybrid easier for everyone.

However, all-digital is the worst format, in her opinion. Harris likes to be with her students to motivate them and monitor their progress in person. When they are all-digital, it is difficult to monitor and motivate them through the screen.  

From a student’s perspective, it is difficult to work from home with all of the distractions. Being home, students have many more distractions, such as siblings’ phone calls, video games, and bed. In school, it is a more streamlined process with more help from teachers. It is easier to ask for help in person as opposed to digitally, where students feel like they are disrupting the flow of the class.

Most agree that in-person school is the way to go. This year has been trying for both students and teachers alike.