Shift to Hybrid Learning

Last week, numerous students were anxious about returning to school in-person. Social interaction felt unfamiliar because they were in isolation, unable to interact with their friends, classmates, and teachers for months. Students wouldn’t be able to sit next to friends during lunch, mingle freely in the hallway, or simply be unmasked and enjoy socializing with peers.

Luckily, students were surprised to discover that hybrid learning was a relief compared to virtual education. The change of pace provided a welcome variation to an otherwise monotonous school week. Several students described feeling much more involved in class. One student remarked, “[In-person school] has really made a difference with my engagement in learning.”

Hybrid learning also improved communication between students and teachers. Sometimes, asking questions was difficult because of technology mishaps or the uncomfortable feeling of a virtual setting. Asking the calculus teacher to explain number twelve from last night’s homework is much easier and comfortable in-person than it is online. “I’ve enjoyed how much easier it is to learn in person. I get to ask my teachers more questions, which is how I learn best,” explained one student.

Many reported that hybrid learning benefited their mental health. High school is a time when teens grow and learn primarily through socialization; being deprived of those interactions removes all of the fun parts of school. One freshman exclaimed, “I was so excited to meet all my friends and teachers in person!” Another student commented, “Even though in-person school has only gone on for a few days, social interaction with others has already had a positive effect on my well-being!”

Returning to in-person school felt daunting to many students and teachers because of the COVID-19 restrictions in place. However, hybrid learning exceeded their expectations because they were more involved in class, and their communication with peers and mental health improved. One ninth-grader summed up her positive hybrid learning experience by saying, “I love seeing and interacting with people I don’t usually talk to on a daily basis. Even if it’s just someone pointing me in the right direction, I can still sense the smile behind their mask!”

— Vienna Gurev

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The Return of Sports in the COVID Era

As Kennett High School finally returns to in-person learning in a different and more COVID-safe hybrid environment, the NHL and the NBA will also come back from shortened offseasons and training camps. Both leagues are being extremely careful with their COVID protocols, with aggressively enforced masks and social distancing. However, our local NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers, have already had issues with the virus, losing most of the team—including Seth Curry, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons—to quarantine restrictions after the formerly mentioned Curry tested positive. With the NHL coming back, the question of whether or not sports can be safe during such a tumultuous time is asked often by many.

Perhaps to start this article, we should take a look at the previous seasons that were played out during the summer by both leagues. Both the NHL and the NBA opted for a “bubble” style league that required all teams playing to travel to a COVID-safe and isolated environment. Both of these “bubbles” were extremely successful, with no COVID cases. However, both of these scenarios were with about half of each league’s teams, as the games were playoffs. Now, both leagues have moved away from the bubble format for the regular season, partly because no sports facility could house the 30+ teams in each sport. Already, the NBA is feeling the effects of the virus, with games being moved or teams playing shorthanded.

It should certainly be mentioned that indeed Kennett High School’s own athletic teams were able to successfully pull off a COVID-safe fall season. Players were masked almost all the time, and social distancing was enforced. We ran into minimal real issues and were able to successfully play through a shortened and modified season. To quote Kennett Athletic Director Sean Harvey, “Having the students practicing together safely with the new protocols that are put in place has proven to be very successful, and the credit goes to the coaches and the athletes.” Our neighbors in Unionville were not so lucky. Both the varsity men’s football team and the women’s soccer team were prevented from participating in their district 1 playoff games after members of the team tested positive for the virus, forcing the rest of their teams into quarantine.

When discussing sports and if they should continue at both the professional and the high school levels, it is important to consider both the pros and the cons. At the professional level, many sports teams are key in their local economies. Televised sports are also a welcome release for many fans who have nothing else to do while staying at home and helping to keep case numbers down. At the high school level, sports are often a way for many students to take their minds off of their academics while staying healthy and having a safe outlet for the energy that many students possess. To again quote Mr. Harvey, “the mental health aspect is extremely important for the athletes as well as the coaches and the parents.” On the other hand, COVID can be spread via sporting events even if standard precautions are taken. Even if the athletes will most likely not have to deal with serious symptoms, their families may be at a higher risk. We’ve already seen cases impacting the families of professional athletes.

Hopefully, sports will be able to safely return and give us all some much-needed entertainment during an otherwise dull winter. Vaccines are being handed out and this international nightmare will (ideally) be just about finished by the end of the summer.

— Martin Heintzelman

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Letter from the Editor

Hey Blue Demons!

Welcome to the new Kennett High School student journalism website! KTV and the Demon Press have teamed up to create a place for you.

This is the place to go to find the latest KTV episodes and your favourite segments—anyone else excited to bring back Nate Asks People Stuff someday? You will also find news articles written by our classmates about topics relevant to us, updated on a weekly basis.

The content here is created by and for students. The talented teams at Demon Press and KTV will cover school news, local news, and beyond, tailored to you in an easily-navigable format.

I know that some of you might not have known that KHS even had a newspaper, but we’re here and ready for you to discover and enjoy.

If you’re looking for entertainment, information, and Demon Pride, look no further: the Blue Demons journalism website has it all!

Rhiannon Stewart

Editor-in-Chief

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