“Can You Hear Me?”

Communication Shortcomings Associated with Hybrid and Virtual Schooling

Nate Hetzer, Reporter, Senior

Plagued by technology issues, simple human error, and a lack of communication, the 2020-2021 school year has thus far been a logistical nightmare.  The students of PMHS have been given conflicting directions, left in the dark, and overall left to shoulder the burden of an already stressful year. Between virtual classes and a schedule more confusing than a Shakespeare play, teachers are left to do everything they can to recover from the educational stall that much of the latter half of last year was left in. It was with the beginning of the school year that students began to complain about communication issues, both in terms of necessities for school and in the basic information students need just to handle an entirely new school plan on such short notice.  Some students, lacking functioning Chromebooks for one reason or another, were informed days after school started that they would have to wait until October for replacements.  

Students and staff have found issues not only with adapting to the larger situation of Covid-19 but with the individual “bumps in the road” as they appear.  Faced with students not practicing responsible observance of guidelines, as well as information about other school’s reopening procedures as they are implemented, there are constant issues when it comes to reopening.  Communication issues that plague students and parents alike are further accentuated by the blockages higher up the chain of transmission. Whether in the case of important information being lost in the seemingly endless sea of email blasts, or the school not having a network effective enough to record absences with a sufficiently high degree of accuracy.  

Senior Chloe Gonzalez gave her thoughts not on the school’s ability to relay information to students, but on how she felt the school entrusted the students with any degree of involvement with school affairs. 

“[the school saying] we care about our students, students should be involved… isn’t how it works…” she boldly claimed, insistent that the school had no interest in the input of the student body. She went on to say “I don’t really feel like I have much to offer the school in the sense they wouldn’t listen…” 

The notion that a school fails to keep its students informed by any measure seems relatively inoffensive to certain students when considering the opposing notion: that the school is unconcerned with the views of the student body.  The lack of communication is seemingly twofold, both encompassing the school’s apparent inability to keep some students sufficiently informed, as well as their reluctance or perhaps even outright refusal to create a climate where students feel comfortable sharing their thoughts on the school’s workings.  

Communication, as difficult as it is to maintain, is not an issue that can be viewed empirically.  Constant changes to our technological reach, as well as the speed with which younger people adapt compared to legislation and administration, result in a degree of discord between school faculty and the students.  Though that degree grows larger and larger, the school can always be noted as striving to improve their abilities to relay information to the student body.  Considering the noble aim of the school’s attempts to improve communication, and the more practical results of said attempts, the question must be asked: is it time for the school to re-examine how they communicate with the student body?