Morgan PawParazzi: What COVID School Model Works Best?


Clara Franzoni

Students of Journalism class attend a Google Meet

Students attend Google Meet in front of in-person class (Clara Franzoni)

Ever since the start of the 2020-2021 Morgan school year, students and staff have been met with uncertainty surrounding the schedules that have been put into place to keep students and staff safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. There are three models that the Clinton Public Schools decide on (these have been modified slightly since the beginning of the year)- full in person, hybrid, and full remote. Full in person involves the entire student body being present at school. A hybrid model includes either the A-K cohort or the L-Z cohort (based on first letter of a student’s last name) attending the classes at school. The full remote model has the entire student body at home doing assignments through Google Meet, Google Classroom, and other online platforms. Each learning model brings challenges and benefits. This week’s feature for the Morgan PawParazzi is all about what COVID school model works best for them.
Teachers and faculty at Morgan are working just as hard as students to keep up with the change in the schedules. Teachers have  experienced all three models, and they have learned what works best for them. English teacher Leslie Chausse, found it “difficult in the hybrid model to engage the students who are remote.” She thought the model was flawed because, “no time is built into the schedule for meeting with students who may need extra support.” Science department head Emily Lisy agreed and found that the old hybrid model was the most difficult. Mrs. Chausse explains that the full in-person model is also challenging because “students cannot move about the room to work with different groups of students. Having student-led discussions is not as productive because with the positioning of the desks and the masks, students are more likely to resort to a passive learning stance.” Students are a large part of the spirit of Morgan and Assistant Principal Chris Luther can attest that he and Principal Mrs. Hagness “love seeing students” and they “miss students when they are not in the building.” Mrs. Lisy would like students to know that, “teachers are doing the best they can, and they are trying to do what is best for students during COVID-19.” Students should be patient with teachers as they navigate this new world of learning models.
To decide on the most appropriate model, Mr. Luther informs the PawPrint that, “the superintendent meets with the local health experts to discuss the trends in the number of cases in our schools, The Town of Clinton, Middlesex County, & surrounding counties.” Board of Education members, administrators, and health experts are also included in this process. When discussing the implementation of these policies, Mrs. Lisy feels that “Clinton Public Schools did the best they could with the information they had.” Though the times we live in are scary, unstable, and unprecedented, the administration, faculty, and students will continue to work towards the most optimal learning environment.
The COVID-19 restrictions and regulations set in place for Morgan, while critical, have impeded some aspects of the learning experience that many students are used to. Each student works and learns better in different settings or at different paces. At many times, students feel limited in their abilities when their social interactions with peers and teachers are cut off. Senior Emma Lindsay feels that if Morgan has the means to have the full student population in school in the safest of conditions, it should be done. She said, “I learn through discussion and questions and that experience is hindered through a computer screen and in hybrid. Likewise, I’m a people person, and I need to see people’s faces and be near them in order to maintain mental health that can support me in my difficult classes. When that support is taken away, I struggle a lot.”
The motto ‘We are Morgan, We are Family’ is in the minds of students since their freshman year. Each day that the virus puts a blockade between the student body and staff feels to many as if they are losing a meaningful connection with family. Yet, our school cherishes this familial loyalty and has been consistently looking for ways to reunite each other while keeping everyone safe and healthy. Still, for students, the difficulties of these remote-learning models are evident, as the increasing reliance on technology has caused issues for many students at home. Junior Jessica Flanagan said, “The biggest difficulty I have faced is with technology. Documents load very slowly during Google Meets so it makes it difficult to get online work done during Meets. Along with this, sometimes my connection isn’t the best, and I get kicked out of Google Meets.” The necessity of technology now has somewhat obstructed the lines of communication that students rely on. When the schedules and models are altered in response to COVID-19 case numbers, “the teachers and students aren’t really on the same page,” said Senior Kyle Carse. When students were asked what they wished teachers knew about the COVID-19 learning experiences, all answers centered around mental health and an overbearing workload. The adjustment to each model takes time, and students understand the teaching process has been restricted. They urge their teachers to have more patience and to take their students’ concerns and anxieties to heart.
In our current circumstances, not just locally but nationwide, taking on each day with caution is the safest and most effective approach. The ideal school environment amidst the pandemic is the ability for students and staff to be present in school together with the safest restrictions, without the threat of losing it all to local case numbers. This might be available in time, but each member of the Morgan family must be adaptable and everyone must work together for our collective welfare. Students, teachers, parents, and community members alike need to find a balance between the models and be willing to make sacrifices in the name of our safety. The Clinton Public School administration has worked with persistence to grant us all as much time together as possible. Following the state’s COVID-19 guidelines with the same dedication is the best way to ensure their work is not taken for granted.

What is PawParazzi?
Founded by Clara Franzoni and Abby Eydman, Morgan PawParrazi is a new segment to highlight The Morgan School and what makes it special. We will cover in-school ‘celebrities’ to highlight the diversity of talent and passions that our school possesses, along with new and noteworthy topics that we think the Morgan family should consider. Is there someone you think deserves the spotlight? Let us know! Every Morgan student has a story that should be told!