For myself, and many other students, our first two official Flexible-Instruction-Days (FID) weren’t very different from a normal day in school. All of my classes were able to continue with what we had already been doing in-person earlier this week — taking notes, working on problem sets, etc. — and didn’t have to change much when we went virtual. Despite the similarities to a normal day of in-person learning, however, there is a limit to the number of FID days allowed each year, and if we surpass it, more days must be added on to the end of the school year.
Today, Friday, February 4th, was the second of 5 approved FID days in the district calendar. After 5, any additional FID days would require adding school days in the last week of the school year — the week of June 6th, 2022.
Before FID days were introduced in the 2019-2020 school year, there was a built-in day off of school that would first be taken off the calendar if there was an event that caused a cancellation of school. The introduction of FID days has allowed for the cancelation of more in-person days without requiring a replacement day added to the end of the school year.
In 2018-2019, the last full school year before the pandemic, Monday, March 25th was a “reserved snow make-up day”. If Avonworth had another closure after the first, the policy was to begin removing spring break days, as listed at the bottom of the 2018-2019 calendar below.
When FID days were first introduced in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic had even started, teachers were asked to prepare separate materials — disconnected to current units — and students would attend the day asynchronously.
Now, in 2022, FID days are no longer asynchronous. Instead, students are required to join classes via Google Meet, just like what was done during the 2020-21 school year. Most students welcome the day off from in-person school, but don’t want to have virtual learning continue for very long, and would prefer the day to be asynchronous instead of having to join their classes using Google Meet.
Sophomore Feyi Odebode offered that, in her opinion, “Online learning is not the best in the world, but given our circumstances, it will suffice. I do prefer asynchronous learning without Google Meets though. Still meeting deadlines without the need to be on the call, in my opinion, is less stressful.”
Owen Maddalena, also a sophomore, said, “I like them every now and then. I’m able to get a lot more work done in between classes because once I finish my work, I can do anything I want, and pack more things into the same amount of time — as long as the teachers don’t keep us in the Meet for the whole period.”
Sophomore Bree Brown added something similar: “I like the virtual days only if it’s occasional. Like, if they keep continuing, I’m gonna get really annoyed really quickly, but they do give me a chance to catch up.”
Personally, I like in-person learning more than virtual because changing classes gives my day a better sense of structure, and it’s harder for me to focus on getting my work done when I’m at home in an environment with so many distractions. I will, however, gladly take a day of virtual learning if it means that we won’t have to add any days on to the end of the school year, or cut down on our Spring Break.
Senior Anna Neiss similarly said that if all 5 of the allotted FID days get used up, and the school has another day that could get canceled, she would rather have a normal in-person day so that we don’t have to add any days on to the end of the year: “I would definitely try to make it to school. I’d rather have a normal school day over the winter than have to make one up in June.”
Overall, the introduction of FID days has been extremely beneficial and has saved the end of our school year (and Spring Break), but it’s clear that students prefer in-person learning and would rather be in-person if it was between that and a sixth FID day that would need to be made up at the end of the year.