A Unique Experience

“You have to recognize how important your facial features are because the mask takes away all aspects of social interaction.”

With coronavirus cases slowly but surely decreasing and with proper permission from Santa Clara County, Bellarmine’s pilot program had a successful start, according to students.

Matthew Giraudo, a senior, expressed his opinion about the hybrid learning model. “I honestly love the pilot program because it gives me a chance to interact with my teachers in person, which is really helpful for learning. Since there are fewer kids, I would compare it to having a tutor, because instead of working with classmates in breakout sessions, my teacher is right there,” Matthew said.

Matthew also described the details of the hybrid learning model: “You arrive at Bellarmine, you want to get there about 15 minutes before your class, and there are two check-in stations on the campus.” “We are given our student ID’s which have a barcode, and at the check-in stations, a camera scans you, which shows that you are actually there on campus. Prior to coming to campus, you have to fill in a wellness check, which just makes sure that you’re healthy enough to come,” Matthew said.

To close, Matthew once again emphasized the benefits of the pilot program, asserting that it allowed one-to-one learning: “The biggest thing about is the teacher being there to help me out.”

A junior also expressed his thoughts about the pilot program. “There is going to be that social element, but is it really going to be there? The mask takes away from your facial features. When you’re laughing at a joke or you’re smiling at someone, the mask takes away a lot of that,” Ryan Alappatt ’22 said.

Often used as a symbol of anonymity, how does the mask affect the learning environment? With the remote learning model, students are behind a screen, but even when school resumes in person, can that cause of separation between members truly disappear?

Despite these issues, Ryan asserted that the pilot program was beneficial overall. “Everyone is involved, regardless if you’re in the classroom or not. One day you’re at school, the other day you’re at home, and getting time with your teacher and your classmates is crucial. The tendency to need human interaction is very essential,” Ryan said.

Finally, Ryan emphasized the importance of human interaction, encouraging others to take part in the program: “I think everyone, regardless of whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert, regardless of whether you’re someone who loves to stay at home or to go out, that type of interaction is essential for everyone, and I think everyone should experience the hybrid learning model.”