Hybrid SET is Open!
SET High has innovated once again (see Virtual SET on the news!), finding a way to safely have students on campus while still supporting our students who are learning from home. Our students and staff have risen to the challenge of maintaining as normal an educational experience as possible during COVID-19. Our students wear face coverings, socially distance at all times, and respect the rules that we have put in place to ensure the safety of all. Our staff have once again adapted to the challenges that COVID-19 presents, putting students first, and seamlessly transitioning into yet another style of teaching that works for our in-person students and virtual students.
How does Hybrid SET work?
In Hybrid SET, the students are divided into 3 different groups: Group A, Group B and Home Only. The Home Only students are the ones who have chosen to only be at home due to health or safety concerns and the remaining students are divided equally between Group A and Group B. Group A students attend school on Mondays and Thursdays, and Group B students attend on Tuesdays and Fridays. All students are at home on Wednesdays. On the days that the students are not at school, they are attending school from home by connecting to the live class via video conferencing software (Google Meet, in our case, but you can think of it as a Zoom connection).
Except for the way that the students are connecting with their classes, Hybrid SET (as with Virtual SET before), classes look and feel very similar to regular school. Our students connect synchronously to their classes and the teachers lecture, lead class discussions, and engage the students with projects just as they did in their regular classes before the COVID-19 crisis. The one major difference is that we have moved the work-time that typically comes at the end of each period to the very end of the day. This shortens each of our classes and reduces the Zoom fatigue that both the teachers and students were feeling. We have a normal daily bell schedule for each of our periods with the instructional time ending at 11:55. In the afternoons, our students have flex time where they have scheduled meetings with teachers for the first hour and then free time to work on individual or group assignments until the end of the school day.
How are both the Hybrid students and the Virtual students supported at the same time?
We have 360 degree video conferencing capability in each room which allows our teachers to engage with both the in-classroom and at-home students at the same time. Each room has an Owl camera that sits on an owl perch in the middle of the room. The Owl allows conversations to move seamlessly between the students who are at home and the students who are at school. Even better, the Owl cameras allow the natural teaching methods that work so well in a traditional classroom to be captured for the students who are at home. Our teachers are able to walk around the class, engage directly with students in the classroom and demonstrate things in much the same ways as they are used to. The experience at home is almost as good as what the students at school are receiving, and definitely better than the talking-head alternative that has become typical with online schooling. In fact, some students have explicitly chosen to stay home even though they feel safe with Hybrid SET because they prefer the convenience of the home-only option.
How are we protecting our students and staff?
The most important policies and procedures that can be found in our Covid-19 Prevention Plan document that is located on our website in About|Public Documents|Other Documents (or here) can be summarized in the next two bullets:
- Students fill out a COVID Questionnaire before coming to school each day that they are physically on campus. It can be found on the CoreCompetency dashboard at https://cc.sethigh.org.
- All students, staff and campus visitors must wear a face covering and wear it at all times when in the school building. We have asked the students to test their masks by doing the simple “blow out a candle test”. We realize that it is not a scientific test, but it does help identify materials that may be too porous to be effective.
As a general rule, as dictated by our Board of Directors, we will always err on the side of caution and follow the recommendations of the California Department of Health and local health officials. We will continue to innovate when it comes to holistic education, but we will always be conservative when it comes to the health and safety of our students and staff.
Here are the additional procedures that we will be following:
- During the initial phase of Hybrid SET, we never have more than 70 students on campus at a time, giving us an extremely low 3 to 1 student to teacher ratio to help us strictly enforce the COVID-19 policies and procedures.
- There are hand sanitizing bottles filled with HOCl that are stationed throughout the school. Students are encouraged to use sanitizer often and will be required to use it anytime they enter a classroom. HOCl is an effective and safe sanitizer that has many beneficial properties in addition to neutralizing bacteria and viruses.
- Each classroom has a HEPA Air Purifier.
- Our air conditioner has been retrofitted with MERV-13 filters, helping filter COVID-19 virus particles in the event that they become aerosolized.
- Students are not required to wear masks when they are outside as long as they maintain 6-foot social distancing, but we still encourage everyone to do so when in a position where they may not be able to keep the 6-foot buffer.
- Students are given a 15-minute break between each class and exit the building one class at a time. When returning to class we only allow 10 students into the building at a time to make sure that there is no congestion in the hallways.
- In addition to wearing face coverings at all times, 6-foot social distancing is enforced at all times. The CDC’s definition of close-contact that warrants quarantining in the event that there is exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is: “more than 15 minutes of contact with someone who is closer than 6 feet while not wearing a face mask.” Our students and staff never meet the criteria for “close contact” with anyone during their time on campus.
- Only 2 people are allowed in each bathroom at a time in order to allow for 6-foot social distancing. Upstairs bathrooms remain locked during class time so that we can enforce this policy, but they are opened during passing periods when we have the personnel to enforce the 2-person policy.
- We have 10 plexiglass barriers, made by our own Mr. Montello, that allow 4 people to sit at our blue tables outside or at the lunchroom tables inside. They can easily be moved inside and out.
- We have installed shade sails to encourage students to spend as much time outside as possible, and we have plenty of seating available in the shade. We also have WiFi outside so that it is easier for teachers to conduct class outside if they choose to do so.
- Our seniors are still allowed to have the off-campus lunch that all seniors have earned, but we will need both the students and the parents/guardians to sign a document promising to follow COVID-19 social-distancing and mask-wearing policies while off-campus.
- All other students are encouraged to spend their lunch outside under our shade sails or at the park. Non-contact sports can be played in the park as long as 6-foot social distancing is adhered to at all times.
- We do not yet have any information about what CIF sports will look like this year, but we will be offering sports when it is safe to do so and we will be following the rules and protocols established by CIF, assuming they are sanctioned by the California Department of Public Health.
- In the event that someone in our community becomes ill, or is in close contact with someone who is ill (close contact is defined as within 6 feet without a face mask for more than 15 minutes), we will be following the Covid-19 Decision Tree created by the San Diego County Office of Education to determine what steps are required for a student or staff member to return to school.
With these measures in place, we have been able to safely and efficiently run Hybrid SET and it has been so nice to have some students back in our campus that was empty for so long.
Come find your place with us. Find your place with the SET Family.