Understanding the 2021 spring semester hybrid learning schedule

A simplified representation of the rotational schedule. Purple represents all virtual days, green signifies cohort green, grey stands for cohort grey, and yellow represents cohort glitter.

Jack Long

A simplified representation of the rotational schedule. Purple represents all virtual days, green signifies cohort green, grey stands for cohort grey, and yellow represents cohort glitter.

When the Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) transitions into hybrid learning in spring 2021, which could occur roughly two weeks after Marin County re-enters the COVID-19 Red Tier, the district will operate under a new and complex schedule

According to the TUHSD administration, all students at High School 1327 (HS 1327) will be divided into three cohorts: Green, Grey, and Glitter. The Cohort system will ensure that there will be few enough students on campus at any given time to maintain safe social distancing. Cohort assignments were sent out to the student body via email on Dec. 17.

Every week will start with a virtual Monday schedule where students of all cohorts will attend all of their classes on Zoom to check in with their teachers. The daily bell schedule for the week will remain the same as it was during the fall 2020 semester. 

The only significant difference under the new schedule is the days students will be on HS 1327 campus. For example, if a student is assigned to Cohort Grey and that cohort is not supposed to physically go to school on Tuesday Jan. 12, then that student will attend Zoom clases just like they would under the fall 2020 schedule.

A simplified representation of the rotational schedule. Purple represents all virtual days, green signifies cohort green, grey stands for cohort grey, and yellow represents cohort glitter. (Jack Long)

However, if that student is assigned to Cohort Green and that cohort is supposed to go to school, then that student will physically go to school and attend the classes that they would usually do over Zoom. 

Overall, the schedule is a three week rotation. One cohort will attend in-person school for two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) and the other two cohorts will each attend for one day (one on Thursday and one on Friday). The following week, the cohort which attended in-person school on Thursday of the previous week will attend physical school on Tuesday and Wednesday. The cohort which attended school on Friday will move up to Thursday. Finally, the cohort which attended school on Tuesday and Wednesday of the previous week will attend school on Friday. The three week cycle will then repeat.

The schedule may initially appear complicated to some, but it has serious benefits. Some members of the administration, like TUHSD superintendent Tara Taupier, are confident in the students’ abilities to adapt.

 “I think it’ll take probably just one round through the first three weeks for people to get on the schedule,” Taupier said.

The most important objective that this schedule meets is that students from every cohort are able to attend school in-person at least once a week. Secondly, it tries to reduce complexity wherever possible by keeping time on campus in consecutive blocks of days. Finally, this schedule keeps students engaged and grounded by having Zoom classes on days when students aren’t on campus. 

Having Zoom meetings during off-days means that students will be firmly anchored and able to maintain equitable learning and that teachers will have to instruct both virtual and in-person classes simultaneously. Some teachers, such as Francie Salle, worry about how they’re going to keep education fair and equal with vastly different groups of students.
“. . . trying to make sure everybody gets the same thing, whether they’re participating in the hybrid or staying remote, that’s the tricky part,” Salle said. 

Due to shorter school days compared to last year, teachers have around one hour of additional time every day to work on adapting lessons to digital formats and other miscellaneous work. However, given the extent of the changes facing the new learning environment, some teachers don’t know if it will be enough time.

“I’m just going to have to reinvent everything and I worry about having the time to do that,” Salle said. 

While concerns may exist, Taupier stated that the TUHSD administration has worked with and taken into account the input of teachers, students, and site councils to develop this schedule to best fit the needs of all groups and foster a good learning environment under the current circumstances.

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