How PV families are dealing with hybrid learning


Nathan Van Utrecht

PV student Evan Van Utrecht works on school work through google classroom.

Nathan VanUtrecht, Copy Editor

The COVID-19 lockdown has brought along a slew of unprecedented struggles, and with school starting up, Iowa families must figure out how to deal with the new challenges of hybrid learning.

On July 17, Governor Reynolds mandated that all Iowa schools have at least half in-person instruction. This led many schools to adopt a hybrid learning model where the student body is split up into two groups, and they alternate the days that they are in school. On the “off-days,” they are doing online assignments. This poses challenges that families are having to adapt to this school year.

One issue is for families with elementary children and parents who both work outside of the home. Although some families have older children to watch their younger siblings, it is difficult for the older kids to help with schoolwork and then complete their own. The older kids already have to take care of their younger siblings, so adding more responsibilities would create additional stress.

There are also families that have younger kids who can’t be at home by themselves. Amy Rotert and her husband, Chad, both work outside the home, so when they heard about the hybrid schedule, they had to scramble to figure what to do with their 8-year-old son, Jake. In the end, she said that, “We found 2 sitters that help take care of Jake.”

Rotert also talked about her qualms concerning the off-days of the hybrid learning schedule. “He has work completed in less than an hour,” she said. “We are also concerned that the work they are doing in school and at home is not challenging enough.” In order to compensate for the lost time in school, she keeps him busy with other school related activities.

The other major issue is for families where at least one of the parents is working from home. While they are available to help with schoolwork, parents have to deal with fighting, loud noises and taking care of their kids. All of these distractions prevent them from completing all of their work during the normal workday. Their extra work bleeds into their relaxation and family time which creates added stress. 

In order to combat this issue, many families are developing systems that allow for balance between the parents’ work time and the kids’ schoolwork. Amy Asselin and her husband Todd Asselin are working at home due to COVID-19, but that has not hindered their productivity. 

They have developed a system that allows them to complete their work and help their kids with their schoolwork. “Within the hybrid model, my productivity is a little higher on days the kids aren’t home,” Asselin says. “However, the kids understand our work schedule and that we have scheduled times for meetings we have to work around. When they need help, they pop in and we can either handle then or we look at my schedule and pick a time we can work through what they need help with.”

While it varies depending on the family, every Iowan in the school system is feeling the added stresses of a hybrid school schedule. There are many ways that families are trying to adapt because as long as COVID-19 is around, the hybrid learning model is the new norm.