This post was sent by a teacher in Westchester County, New York, who prefers to remain anonymous:

Based on the hybrid/blended learning model described in the re-entry plan, this is what an average class period would look like in a typical 40-minute class. While an 80-minute class has more flexibility, the protocols are the same. This is a SMALL sampling of what life will be like for teachers and students in a hybrid model with the protocols outlined in the re-entry document.

This example would start at the transition between period 1 (which ends at 9:15am) and period 2 (which begins at 9:18am). In a 40- minute per class schedule, there are only three minutes between periods for all class periods. In an 80-minute per class schedule, there are only five minutes between periods for all class periods.

In this example, the “cohort” model where students stay in one spot and teachers move to them is not considered. It is not a practical solution for most classes—especially those that require supplies.

1. I just finished a class that ended at 9:15. I rush to my next class where another teacher is finishing a class that ends at 9:15. I do not like teaching in this room after this particular teacher because I do not trust that teacher to enforce social distancing and mask protocols. That teacher tends to be too lax. I need to go to the bathroom, but there were too many people waiting to get in (given the social distancing requirements). I did not want to risk leaving my students in the hallway given the risk of unsupervised interactions. Plus, the bathroom protocols are confusing. Overall, it’s unclear when I will be able to go to the bathroom at a safe time. I get to the room and I need to wait until all of the students from that class exit—presumably in a socially distanced manner (although that is unlikely since they will only have three minutes to get to the next class which starts at 9:18. My students are starting to arrive and begin to crowd me since there is no place to go. While waiting, I have no safe place to stand and there are students, teachers and other staff headed in all directions in the hallway. Once the classroom is clear, I rush in.

2. As the students from the first class leave, they encounter students waiting in the hallway who need to come in for my class. It is unlikely that they are following distancing or mask protocols because there is NO ONE supervising them, beyond a quick yell as a teacher passes–“hey get those masks on” “kids please separate–you can’t be closer than 6 feet.” It is highly unlikely that anyone will hear the teacher since it is quite loud (especially with multiple teens and pre- teens shouting for attention). The teacher will rush off to get to whatever class they need to get to. Or the teacher will ignore it entirely because the hallways will be the most dangerous places in the building–especially between classes.

3. Even if I arrive a minute or two after 9:15 (which is inevitable since I’m rushing from another class), I am concerned that my students will enter the room without monitored social distancing and mask wearing. The doors are propped open by protocol (to allow air flow), so there will be a period of time where the room is unsupervised.

4. Somehow in this time from 9:15 to 9:18, every surface is supposed to be disinfected. It is unclear who will do this or how it will be done. In all likelihood, it will not happen and as the day goes on, the room will become an ever-growing petri dish.

5. According to the protocols, students are supposed to wash their hands when they come in. After entering the room, some students make a beeline for their desks, while others head to the sink. There will be a breakdown in social distancing because it will be impossible to monitor this and have an organized method of entering, sitting, and washing hands. When there are only three minutes between classes, the transitions are inherently chaotic. A line forms in the crowded space leading to the sink. This will become a source of concern and I will have to say something like: “students please socially distance! Make sure you put those dirty towels in…..(not sure where that type of waste will go). Make sure you clean up that water that is now all over the floor and on the counters! That water is now contaminated— please try not to get water everywhere. Please hurry, we only have about 35 minutes for class. Oh, and I’m saying this on the opposite side of the room b/c I don’t want to be near you”

6. Eventually students go to their assigned square.

7. Students are carrying their supplies with them from class to class, so they put them………somewhere?

8. Now students students set up plexiglass that they are also carrying with them all day

9. About this time a student asks to go to the bathroom—which could be problematic. It is unclear when we are supposed to use the bathroom—there are apparently “designated times” for classes to go, and I don’t think this is our time. However, I allow the student to go because it looks like it will be a problem if I don’t. Before I allow the student to go, I remind the student to wear their mask and do not congregate in the hallway. And be sure to walk on the appropriate part of the hallway. And come straight back to class, again using the appropriate hallway (and stairs if applicable…it’s hard to keep track of which stairs and hallways are for which direction….I’m pretty sure the bathroom is in the middle of those one-way hallways…or it may be where there are lanes separating each side—but no one ever sticks to those lanes because….no one sees the tape and they are students and it is impossible to supervise).

10. When that student comes back, they will need to wash their hands. Again.

11. In the meantime, I am trying to open some of the windows for airflow, but many of the windows do not open properly. I am hesitant to go in the back of the room because of the proximity to students. I check the air conditioner to ensure that the airflow is on “fresh” air and not “circulate” since circulated air is supposed to spread the virus. At this point, my only thought is about protecting myself against the virus. After a week of this, I am sure I will be in a heightened state of anxiety since every minute of every day will require constant monitoring of my surroundings. Anyway, I’m not sure if the air conditioner is set correctly and I’ve lost too much time already.

12. Some students will arrive late because some of the hallways and staircases are directional–meaning they might need to circle the building to go in the proper direction. Some students may get lost going this way. Others may bump into friends, take off their masks and chat. Some students may find this system highly stressful which will make it even harder for them to follow the “get to class protocol.” Some students may drop their box of material while trying to balance their jacket, box and plexiglass (and any other items they may be carrying since lockers are not in use).

13. I wait until late students wash their hands and set up at their spot.

14. At best, it is now 9:28 (10 minutes into class). Likely, it is after 9:30. Best case scenario, there are 30 minutes left (not including packing up and cleaning and leaving in a socially distanced manner). 15. Now I need to set up livestreaming. The second half of my class have been waiting at home for class to start (at 9:18), however given all of the protocols we must follow in the building, it is impossible to start at 9:18. I’m concerned that students will get impatient and leave. As I try to livestream, there are complications. It’s Zoom and there are always complications. Also, we have webcams, but the only ones available to purchase are off-brand copies of major label webcams that have been sold out since March. While they look nice, they are glitchy. Plus, the computer that the webcam is attached to is an older computer with older hardware and limited RAM. It is difficult to stream to 10 or so students with older technology. While our bandwidth has improved, every class is attempting to stream at the same time. Plus, every cell phone, Chromebook and laptop in the building is tapping into WIFI. We always have slowdowns mid-day. It takes me about five minutes (if I’m lucky) to connect with the half of my class that is at home. While I’m doing this, the in-class students have nothing to do and start to become restless and talk to each other. Students often lower their masks to talk and I start to notice this out of the corner of my eye, but I’m trying to make the livestreaming work.

16. As I finally get the remote students on board, I turn around to ensure students are socially distanced, have their masks on and are sitting in their assigned square. I reprimand at least several students for having masks below their noses. While I address the issues in the classroom, the remote students have nothing to do—some of them turn off their camera. It is now 9:35 (if I’m lucky and there are minimal tech problems on the livestream side and few issues of social distancing on the classroom side).

17. A student asks for a scheduled mask break–he can’t breathe. Several other students complain too. I say, “not now, I need to get started.” Those students are upset at me. One is really embarrassed that I said their name because the students at home heard it and they know the class is being livestreamed. Some students have expressed concern that their friends will secretly record the class or take screenshots and put them on Instagram. Even worse, they worry about becoming a meme. I am a little worried about this too. The students at home are really bored.

18. Now I need to take attendance. It’s halfway through the period already. I must take attendance for two different sets of students. Technology problems will make this longer—there are always problems with our attendance program. It slows mid-day when many classes are using the network. The livestreaming has placed a huge strain on our bandwidth needs.

19. Finally, I explain the directions for the class. However, I need to find a place to stand where both groups can see me. I generally stand in the same spot all period due to social distancing rules.

20. I am not able to move around room due to social distancing concerns.

21. I will be teaching with a mask and a shield. Communication will be difficult. Students will ask me to repeat information—although this will be difficult to do from home, so they will tune out and pretend to be listening. Students will grow to hate these mandatory livestreams. They will tell their parents that it is a waste of time. It’s really difficult to understand anything (b/c the microphones on the off-brand webcams do not work well), plus they can’t do many of the activities that I insist should be doable at home. Although, it is difficult to determine this since there is no research about best-practices for a hybrid classroom where half the students are at home and the other half are in the classroom. To be honest, I am completely winging this. There is no time to prepare these lessons and I have no prior material to fall back on. Even though I am a veteran teacher, I have no idea how to teach in this model—no one does. I spend most of my day trying to stay safe.

22. Teaching is a bit awkward. I’m not sure who to look at. When I look at my in-class students, I’m staring at a group of evenly spaced students with masks (most are hanging slightly askew). I then turn around to see a Brady bunch group of students looking like they are being tortured. Somehow, I need to find inspiration. We are just about ready to do an activity. It’s now 9:42 (at best)

23. The “lesson” now begins—we have 16 minutes left. Some days it will be a PowerPoint that will somehow have to be presented to two different groups in two different locations—I never remember where to direct my voice. I try to get passionate about the subject but then remember that jumping around with a face shield and getting sweat and spittle on the inside of my mask is really disconcerting—so I tone it down. Plus, I look crazy jumping around in that get up. Also, moving around erratically causes my shield to shift and my mask to slide down my face. On other days, students will do an activity. Students will not be able to collaborate given the two different environments and the need to socially distance in the classroom. Activities will be severely limited to accommodate social distancing and a remote audience. I will not be able to distribute materials— especially for classroom work—because the group at home will not be able to participate. If a student needs one on one help to understand the handout, I will not be able to help due to social distancing. I’ll try to help from afar. It’s really difficult to address questions from two different sets of students so I focus more on the in-class students. The students at home become progressively more disengaged. Lessons in this environment will most certainly be rote and dry. There will be minimal engagement.

At 9:53, I start to wrap things up to get the class ready for the next group. I’m very anxious about these transition times. Students need to make sure they have all of their belongings in their box. They need to clean the plexiglass and take it with them. Supplies used in class (if they belong in class) must be cleaned. The remote group has already signed out b/c there is nothing for them to do. In fact, they only had about 10 minutes worth of “learning.”

The class ends at 9:58 and the next class begins at 10:01—and this happens all over again.

It turns out that my prep period is from 10:01 to 10:41. This is when I am supposed to prep for classes and/or grade material. This is especially important now because every lesson must be prepared anew to fit this hybrid environment. However, there is no place for me to go. The hallways are jammed. I cannot stay in the classroom due to social distancing protocols. Plus, it would be awkward if I end up on the livestream of another class. I try to strategically plan when I can use the bathroom safely. However, I do not want to remain in the building. There literally is no room for me to go to. The faculty lounge has limited occupancy—plus, the ventilation in there is terrible and I do not want to be in another room with many other people—some of whom may not be wearing their masks correctly. So, I decide to go to my car. To get there, I have to use a specified exit which is on the opposite side of the building of my car. By the time I navigate to the proper exit and wander over to my car, it’s 10:15. If I used the bathroom, then it is probably 10:25. I lie down in my car seat for 10 minutes max. Then I have to race back to the proper entrance (and go through an entrance exam?) to get to my next class on time. Obviously nothing is planned or graded during this time.

Multiply this by 6 classes. Add in lunch and specials. And there WILL be other challenges that I didn’t address. These are just the most obvious.

I question how much learning would occur in this environment. I’m worried about my health and the health of my students and the community as a whole.