Bremen begins blended learning model

Students, teachers navigate the “new normal” while following strict CDC guidelines


Adrian Flores, Echo reporter

Since school started in August, many have wondered when Bremen will be returning to in-person learning. Beginning Oct. 19, students finally got an answer.

The freshman groups began returning to Bremen High School the week of Oct. 19, 2020. The freshmen entered into the new Blended Learning program, which means groups of freshmen went back on different days and spent some of their time learning in-person and some of their time learning at home.  

Students with the last name starting with letters A-D were scheduled to attend in person learning on Monday, Oct. 19. The last names of each student is how they divided all of the days of the week, with Wednesdays left out for students and staff to stay home for deep cleaning at BHS.

The sophomores, juniors, and seniors were scheduled to begin their return the week of Oct. 26, 2020 but every student was given the option whether or not they wanted to attend weekly as if they would rather learn on their Ipad at home they could make this choice.

According to Bremen’s website, “Only 25% will return to campus for in-person learning as we transition to blended learning. Students will go to school on their assigned day, once a week, which is designated by alpha slice.  All students, whether at home or in the building for their designated day of in-person learning, will now follow the blended learning schedule.” 

Attending school in person is optional!  With the new Blended Learning Plan, students can stay home or attend school in person once per week. Students who plan on attending school in person, however, have to go through the PowerSchool website and complete a self-certification.  By completing the self-certification, the students would prove that they had no symptoms of Covid19.

In addition, students needed to prove that they completed the self-certification upon entering the building by taking a screenshot of the completed certificate; the screenshot can act as a pass to enter the bus and the building. 

Students who choose to attend school in the building are required to wear a mask upon entering the building.  Also, students have to follow the Social Distancing Guidelines to remain 6 feet away from others.  The hallways are marked with tape so the new guidelines are evident to everyone.  This helps to ensure that there isn’t a lot of traffic in the halls. Additionally, all desks in the classrooms were separated to keep everyone at the safe distance of 6 feet apart.

Bus transportation is provided for students; typical bussing is available but, again, students have to take the certification before entering the bus.

Although attendance for in-person learning doesn’t seem to be that great so far, the students who have attended seem to agree that that building is holding safety as something that is very important. 

“Bremen is taking these actions pretty well and they’re doing everything they should be doing,” explained in-person freshman Jaden Willis. “I’m adapting to the new environments pretty well. I’m meeting new people and getting used to being around other people after quarantine.” 

Many kids are adapting well to a new environment. They feel as if it is the new normal and blended learning is the right direction to our everyday life.  Freshman Mayra Flores agrees that CDC guidelines are very important and Bremen and the staff are handling it pretty well.

“For this to be my first year at Bremen, I do feel as if it helped me adapt a bit more since everything is so new,” Flores said. “I’ve been inside of Bremen because of older siblings, however I was never really told how they lived their 4 years in high school. For me, this just seems as if it were an everyday thing at Bremen (which of course it isn’t).”

Although this type of learning isn’t working flawlessly for everyone, blended learning is a step in the right direction.  It seems it was hard to adjust to it at first, but it quickly became the norm. 

The current CDC guidelines are appropriate given these current situations.  The teachers are doing their very best to make the new norm be as positive as possible. 

“On my first day at Bremen, which was Tuesday [Oct. 20], I remember feeling very welcomed by very kind and helpful staff members!” Flores stated. 

Staff respectfully reminds the students to maintain social distance, wear their masks properly, and much more to ensure the safety of both students and staff. It is impressive to see the way staff and students are handling the CDC guidelines while still trying to get an average school day in the most positive way possible.  

“When I was just looking for classrooms, teachers always asked where I was trying to go and helped guide me to the right direction. This really helped set aside the idea of being afraid about COVID-19,” Flores said.

Teachers and staff agree that the return to school has been going smoothly due to everyone following CDC guidelines.

“Bremen has been very consistent in following the guidelines set forth by the CDC,” said Mrs. Tardy, Bremen English teacher. “All classrooms have been set up to comply with the distancing rules, and students are required to wear masks while at Bremen. Also, anyone entering Bremen has to self-certify each day they enter the building. All of these measures are strictly enforced with staff and students to keep us safe and ensure we are working to prevent the spread of germs. Adapting to the blended model for teaching is definitely a challenge for all of us!” 

These guidelines are very important to follow, these guidelines are for our safety and to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 however, a lot of classes look different this year. Take culinary arts for instance instead of cooking in groups like they usually do it’s only one student at a time.  Recipes have changed to be quicker students can cook at home if they choose to stay at home, according to FACS teacher Mrs. Flood 

“Culinary Arts has changed in many ways for this school year,” Flood said. “Only one student may be in the kitchen cooking at a time, instead of our usual groups of four.  Also, with shorter class periods and less people in the kitchen, our recipes have changed to be quicker and our yields have changed to accommodate the one student cooking.  Students have cooked at home and they are able to do so if they are not able to come back to Bremen. As for the classroom portion, our content remains the same.  A few activities had to be changed due to being remote but students seem to like the different assignments.” 

With all of the new policies and expectations at Bremen, the transition to blended learning continues to challenge teachers and students alike who are doing their best to make it work.

“It has been so wonderful to see students again in the classroom and to continue building on the relationships that started online,” Mrs. Tardy said. “However it is difficult to balance reaching the students online while also attending to the students present in class. As a teacher, I always want to make sure that I’m doing my best every day to connect with all of my students.”