HVS returns to five days of in-person instruction


As students left for spring break, they had mixed feelings about coming back to school full time. Some were excited for some return to normalcy whereas others felt the decision came at a time that COVID cases were still high in the area.

Annabel Williamson, Managing Editor

Since COVID-19 first spread rapidly in the United States about a year ago, trying to deliver a quality education to students has been a major concern as each school district was forced to come up with solutions to teaching students while also keeping students, families and parents safe. Last year, Huron Valley Schools went from providing optional assignments to finishing out the 2019/2020 school year with pass/fail options through virtual learning. After summer break, students started completely virtual before spending seven weeks in a hybrid system where they physically attended two days a week. When cases spiked in November, full virtual instruction was used to finish out 2020. In January, students began attending 4 days per week. After the hectic jumps between online and in-person classes, the school board approved face to face instruction beginning on Tuesday, April 6 for a full five days a week. 

More than a year into the pandemic, the district is making its first steps back toward normalcy. However, there is still a divide between students as some are excited for the familiar schedule, while others are concerned it is too soon. Sophomore Alexis Cornett said, “Even though I appreciated having Wednesdays off to catch up on work and sleep, I do agree with the decision to go back to school five days a week.’ She stated, “I believe having a five-day week will return us to a more normal school schedule… I think five days of school will provide more continuous instruction for students and teachers.” 

Additionally to the switch back to normalcy, safety has increased as 80% of all Huron Valley teachers have gotten at least their first shot of the vaccine. Going back five days will also take a lot of pressure off parents who have struggled to take care of their children at home on Wednesday, whether it be finding a babysitter or them being a distraction while working from home. Going back to school five days a week will allow for parents to adjust back to the schedule they are used to, meaning very few parents are against the five day week. 

Senior Bella Cutean is not so eager to go back full time, as she is worried about the consequences of no longer having asynchronous Wednesdays.“I do not agree with the decision to go back to the five days. Coming to school in person although necessary is a constant every day reminder that we are in the middle of a pandemic and nothing is normal and we are all just surviving in some form of uncertainty. That’s not a healthy environment for 5 days per week. A work week is five days, but school is supposed to be about learning not conditioning, and in the middle of a pandemic it is much harder to learn so there should be a day where individuals get some sort of (physical) break.” Although Cutean does see the positives in the normalcy of the 5-day schedule, she does not believe it is enough reason to go back.“The positive that individuals would like to get from this is a more normal feel, but with all of the precautions,although they are very necessary and it is not something that can change, it is all very obvious that five days won’t make us go back to normal, but simply try to force normal in a situation that is furthest from.”

In circumstances such as this, there is nothing that is 100% right, superintendent Paul Salah touched on this at the Huron Valley board meeting on March 3, 2021. “In terms of these recommendations, not everyone is going to feel they got exactly what they wanted, but these recommendations were made with a high degree of thoughtfulness, integrity and considering all voices and taking a balanced approach.” Salah brought up the decrease in COVID cases, showing now as the safest time since October to fully re-open. Although, since the meeting on March 3 there has been an increase in Oakland County COVID cases with 1,518 new cases as of March 20, 2021. Cases are still low compared to earlier in the school year, but there is new room for concern. But, with the school board unaware of the future spike in cases, and the only public comment being related to the band program and not the return to five days a week, the vote was unanimous. Between parents, staff, and the students themselves, the biggest priority is education. Board President Tom Wiseman concluded the meeting on a positive note, thanking the community for all they have done. “One of the things that we talked about was for our students to learn. They have to be in a safe environment and a lot of this has to do with safety and security of our students. And I applaud our parents and our community to recognize that.”