Updated: Sep 18, 2022
Adele Haselkorn and Mollie Lachter
Due to COVID-19, Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy has switched to a hybrid in-person schedule that alternates between middle school and high school. This system has its pros and cons and each Barrack student likes different parts of it.
Abby Joshowitz ‘26, says, “My favorite part about being in person is that I can see all my friends and it makes this crazy time a little more normal…. My favorite part about being online is that class starts later, because before COVID-19 I didn’t like getting up early all the time.”
“Being in person improves my concentration because there are less distractions to deal with, compared to learning at home,” Ari Powers ‘23 told us. “My favorite part of being online is the alternative schedule. The classes being shorter gives me some extra time to transition between classes, which can be very helpful,” he continued.
There are also downsides to being at home and on campus. Abby says, “I don’t like being online because it’s a lot of screen time…. My least favorite part about in-person school is that we’re outside and it’s cold.”
Students also described which environment they work better in. “I do not tend to get distracted, partly because there is nothing to distract me on or close to my desk. This may also be because I like most of my classes, and I am interested in what they are teaching,” states Zemer Freidenreich, a fully virtual sixth grader.
Ari says that the place he works better in is at school, “due to the atmosphere that is created in an in-person learning environment due to the lack of distractions. When in school, I feel ready to learn.”
Many students believe that they are getting more distracted while being at home. “I find there are harder distractions to avoid in online learning than in in-person school. I work better at school if the teacher is in school because it's easier to learn that way even though there are many distractions. There are many distractions at home, too, and I think the distractions at home are a little harder to concentrate with,” says Abby.
Students have also noticed sports are different from last year. This year, there are not any competitions or games because the school does not want too many people in one space.
Before Barack started the one week on and one week off schedule, Ari Powers tells us that “I [felt] nervous because I [knew] that COVID-19 is a big deal and I would not want to catch it, however ,I [knew] that the school has put strict procedures in place to make everything safe, so mostly, I [felt] safe. I am excited because I like going to school in person better than learning online and I am excited to see my friends and teachers.”
Some students have chosen to take classes totally online. Zemer explains that “as far as I know, I am not planning to go in person until there is a working vaccine out, which might mean that I am virtual all year.”
Our final question to everyone was whether Barrack could find a way to improve their system this year. “In-person and online school are not perfect but I just don’t know what could be done to improve it,” says Abby. Ari says that Barrack is “doing the best they can.”
COVID-19 has affected everyone, but Barrack is doing a great job making sure this year is the best it can be, while keeping everyone safe!
Photo Credit: Fair Observer