DLS, Regina parents, students reflect on in-person learning

Regina to switch from hybrid to full time March 8

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published February 21, 2021


WARREN — When the 2020-21 school year began in August at De La Salle Collegiate High School, in-person instruction was held five days a week at the all-boys Catholic high school.

DLS families concerned about in-person instruction due to COVID-19 had the option for their children to attend class remotely while at home.

Wendy Cummins’ sophomore son returned to in-person learning at DLS at the start of the school year. There was a brief period in the fall when DLS conducted virtual learning because Gov. Gretchen Whitmer paused in-person instruction for secondary students statewide. But now, DLS students are back in school.

“I love the fact they have been face to face five days a week since August,” said Cummins, who also has a student at Michigan State University. “The school has gone to extreme measures to make it safe with their procedures. They shared protocols with us over the summer, and there was an opportunity to ask questions. I’m not worried about anything.”

As part of its protocol, DLS officials installed three thermal imaging cameras at each main entrance to measure skin-surface temperatures as students first enter the building. There is assigned seating in the classrooms, social distancing, mask wearing and more.

“He loves it,” Cummins said of her son being in school, including the social and emotional aspect of being with peers. “They’re around other adults and have the opportunity to say ‘hello’ and have that interaction.”

Cummins understands some families prefer their children still study virtually because of COVID-19.

“Everyone has to weigh the safety precautions but I do think students should have the opportunity to go face to face,” she said.

DLS parent Patricia Maluchnik also is pleased her 12th grader is attending school in person.

“I think it is the best thing for our son,” she said. “They’re getting face-to-face teaching, they can ask questions and they can get help from their teachers. It’s best for the kids to be face to face.”

Last spring when DLS was held virtually, she said her son was in school online from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with three classes, plus had to do homework afterward.

“For middle and high school, their peer group is their life,” Maluchnik said. “I’m paying for a quality education. I want him in school. In school is when they’re going to learn best.”

Since August, Regina High School has offered a hybrid model, which combines face-to-face instruction with online learning. This is designed to reduce the number of students in the building to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Regina families also had the option of all-virtual schooling as well.

Under the hybrid program, the Regina students are divided up by alphabet into two teams: the Blue Team and the White Team. The teams attend the all-girls Catholic school every other day, and are in class either two or three days each week, depending on the week. While one team is in school for in-person instruction, the other team is using Zoom videoconferencing at home for schooling.

Several safety measures — such as wearing masks, one-way hallways and spaced-apart student lockers — are in place. Because hybrid has gone so well, Regina school officials will bring back students full time March 8.

Sophomore Eva Faddoul is glad for the opportunity to attend school in the hybrid format this year thus far. On the virtual days, we “do a normal day at school but at home,” she said. “It was a little confusing in the beginning. It got easier and easier, and we learned how to communicate better. Now we have a full understanding.”

When at school, Faddoul feels staff is taking every precaution to keep students safe.

“Everything is sanitized. Everyone wears masks that cover the nose and the mouth. At lunch, grades are separate and (sit) 6 feet apart,” Faddoul said. “There are 10 minutes between classes to wipe down classrooms and wipe desks. I feel pretty safe going to each class. I’ve never had an issue not feeling safe.”

Faddoul is on the student council and is a member of the Saddle Shop Committee, two aspects of school in which she always looks forward to participating. Both groups have held regular Zoom videoconferencing meetings to stay in touch this year and have met up in school when possible.

“I’m honestly happy with the way they are doing hybrid,” freshman Maddie Corder said. For instance, if a student is not adhering to the safety guidelines, Corder said a staff member will alert her right away.

“I really like that about Regina. There are days when it’s annoying to have to distance yourself. In the long run, it’s for the best,” Corder said. “Everything they are doing is for our precautions. Even with the rules and regulations, it’s been fine.”

And if you miss an assignment or don’t understand something virtually, Corder said you can talk to your teacher about it when at school in person the next day.

Michigan schools, including Regina, were strictly online in the spring of 2020 when the governor closed schools for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. They then went into virtual learning. Corder was not a fan of learning from home.

“There were a lot of distractions. You have your bed right next to you,” she said. “I know schools are online (now). I couldn’t imagine doing that.”

She also said that because she’s in school for the hybrid program, she has made new friends that she otherwise would not have and hopes to make more friends when all the students are back in school. The honors student is on student council and plays on the basketball team.