There is a lot less activity in the halls of Somers High School, but there are still plenty of smiles and engagement in the classrooms.
"It's definitely different and better than I expected," says student Allie Puerto, "Because I expected the worst. But I like being here, seeing people and socializing and I also love being at home."
The high school is following a hybrid model, with two cohorts alternating days in school and days Zooming in from home. Teacher Mary McEwan say it can be a challenge to engage kids at home and in her classroom at the same time.
"I love group work and labs," says McEwan, a chemistry teacher. "So I have had to change my teaching style. But it is great that we can have students' cameras on and we can see them while we are in class."
Since the high school has moved to longer block scheduling, the long class periods present an opportunity for teachers to take students outside for much-needed mask breaks. In addition, the students can choose to eat outside at lunchtime. If they eat in the Commons, Student Life Center, or the cafeteria, single desks are spaced six feet apart, facing in one direction.
"For the most part it is actually working pretty well," says Principal Mark Bayer. "Our kids are being really compliant and cooperative and following all the guidelines, so it has been actually pretty good."