Cass Technical High School students are adapting to blended learning this school year. Cass is the only school in the Detroit Public School Community District that is using blended learning, in which virtual and in-person learning are used together.
DPSCD, like other districts around the country, have had to follow the CDC’s recommendations for in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. Cass Tech assistant principal Lauren Kazin said that because of the high student population at Cass Tech it was necessary for the students to be divided into cohorts so that the school could follow the CDC guidelines. Cass Tech students are split into two cohorts, Cohort 1 is last name A-L and Cohort 2 is last name M-Z.
“This was a tough decision ... we had to look at kind of an alternative plan because we had so many students in class, so with 2,400 kids, we did not feel like this was going to be a safe option to be able to social distance kids in classrooms,” Kazin said.
Senior Raven Peoples said it has been challenging to adjust to blended learning and said she prefers in-person learning.
“The most challenging thing about blended learning has definitely been adjusting to coming back to school having been online half the year for 10th grade and then the full year online for 11th grade ...,” said Peoples.
Raven said that blended learning is definitely better than complete virtual learning, but it still has its challenges.
“Because we’re separated into cohorts, I feel like I haven't been able to see all of my friends and it's just been weird in general," Peoples said. "I won't say that it's been terrible. I do get to be in school sometimes. I will say it's just weird."
Raven said she does feel that the school is prepared if we need to go back completely to virtual.
“I just want to say that I do feel like our school has put us at a little bit of an advantage just in case cases do rise," Peoples said. "We are adjusted to learning online and in school so it won't affect as much."
Kazin stressed that it was challenging for administration to plan for a safe return to school, but they were determined to come up with a good solution for Cass Tech students.
“We wanted to make sure that we had kids back in school as often as we could,” Kazin said.