Reopening Phase 3 offers new hybrid model for on-campus instruction


Photo Courtesy of Michael Reeves

As of Monday, Nov. 2, Reopening Phase 3 will officially be activated. The main difference between Phase 2 and Phase 3 is the introduction of the new hybrid model, which allows for an increased number of students to participate in on-campus instruction.

Cade Spencer, Editor-in-Chief

Since the implementation of Reopening Phase 2 on Oct. 5, less than 100 students have returned to campus to participate in Stationary Homeroom Instructional Pods (SHIPs). However, as of Monday, Nov. 2, Reopening Phase 3 will be activated with three instructional options: remote learning, on-campus hybrid model, or on-campus full-time instruction. As of now, 15 percent of the student body, about 375 students, is expected to return, consisting primarily of freshmen and sophomores. 

“On Monday, Nov. 2, I am not planning to participate in going back to on-campus learning,” sophomore Avery Muilig said. “I do not think I would benefit going back to school since most of our tests, assignments, and teaching will be online anyways.”

In contrast to Phase 2, Phase 3, as supported by local health policies, does not have a capacity for the maximum number of individuals permitted on campus simultaneously, allowing for the SHIP model to be discontinued. When students participate in on-campus instruction in Phase 3, they will transition between the classrooms of their own teachers as would be done in a traditional school year with the exception of Flexible Instructional Time (FIT), during which students will remain in their first period location. 

“The ever changing [school] landscape is one reason we are choosing to stay home,” Bowie parent Katie Dinwiddie said. “Remote learning is allowing stability in our students’ lives, even if it lacks the socialization of in-person school.”

Another difference between Phase 2 and Phase 3 is the addition of the on-campus hybrid model, which is the model the majority of students who select on-campus instruction will adhere to. The hybrid model splits students into two groups: group one will participate in on-campus instruction on Monday and Tuesday while group two will participate in on-campus instruction on Wednesday and Thursday, and each group will be in-facility every other Friday. Students who meet the district’s criteria for personal or academic need will be able to attend on-campus instruction full-time. 

“If I did return to on-campus instruction, I could benefit by having more opportunities to connect to teachers and fellow classmates,” Muilig said. “In addition, I could have my questions answered faster and learn new material a little easier.”

Since teachers will have students on-campus and at remote locations, they will be performing both in-persona and virtual instruction throughout Phase 3 simultaneously. If a student attends on-campus learning and their teacher is absent or approved to continue remote instruction, they are expected to report to common areas like the library, theatre, and cafeteria to complete supervised virtual learning. 

“This is a very different model of teaching for our teachers, and one for which training and technology has not yet been determined,” Principal Mark Robinson wrote in his Oct. 20 Bowie Star Newsletter. “Your patience and understanding with our teachers during this transition will be greatly appreciated as we shift to another completely new model of teaching that we haven’t done before.”

Throughout Phase 3, every individual will be required to undergo a temperature check and to submit the daily AISD COVID-19 Screen & Go survey between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. before entering the facility. In addition, students will be required to wear masks on campus except for when drinking or eating and social distancing will be highly encouraged. If an individual that was present on campus is diagnosed with COVID-19, the practices outlined in the AISD Open for Learning Plan will be activated, including contact tracing and proper sanitization of exposed areas. 

“I feel that [on-campus instruction] can be done now safely; there are other large districts in Texas that have figured it out and their cases remain low,” Dinwiddie said. “Bowie is full of innovation and creativity, and I am confident that our administration and student body can adapt and progress to a new normal.”

Since the SHIP model will no longer be active, students participating in on-campus instruction will be able to eat lunch in common areas, such as the cafeteria, with peers at a recommended social distance. However, because the campus is officially closed throughout each school day, seniors will be unable to go off campus for lunch. 

“I definitely miss my friends and being able to collaborate with my classmates,” senior Haley Coldsmith said. “However, I do not see myself returning to school this semester and for most of next semester unless the cases dramatically drop or an effective vaccine has been administered.”

As students return to campus the first week of Phase 3, they will be able to park in the garage, the marching band lot, or the Bethany church by preference; however, official parking permits will be sold starting Wednesday, Nov. 4, and enforcement of the permits will begin after the November break. If a student needs information on the updated bus schedule, it can be found on page 37 of the AISD Open for Learning Plan, Version 4.

“I want the pandemic to be over and return safely to school,” Coldsmith said. “I feel that if I go back to school now, we will only spread the disease and extend the time in quarantine.”

As of now, Phase 3 will be active throughout the remainder of the Fall semester and possibly the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year. If a student desires to change their instructional preference, their parent/guardian must contact the main office at (512) 414-5247 with at least a five day advance notice of the student’s change in instructional models.

“I do look forward to when my daughters and all of their friends return to school and physically see each other,” Dinwiddie said. “In the meantime, being plugged into sports and clubs keeps them interacting with their peers, and I think that is a major part of succeeding in a virtual environment.”