BYMS Opens Four Days a Week for In-Person Instruction


“Today, as we began our first day our students repeatedly said it was so nice to be able to see friends they haven’t been able to see in months and for some over a year!”, stated Mrs. Beth Fisher, BYMS principal, in an interview with the Matador Messenger. Starting Monday, April 19th, the new hybrid model allows students from both cohorts to attend in-person learning together for 4 days a week while participating remotely on Wednesdays. “We have also found that when students switch from remote learning to in-person learning there has been an increase in performance in classes. We believe the added facetime with our wonderful teachers will only add to the ability for students to connect with the classroom material.”


With all these new changes, new restrictions were put in place in addition to students and teachers taking more caution while on campus. As students started getting used to being around their peers after almost a year of distance learning, some challenges teachers and students faced include forgetting to maintain 3-feet of distance as well as keeping masks on. “With around 65% of our students participating in our new in-person format, our district has done a wonderful job setting us up for success in terms of keeping our community safe with the many precautions,” Mrs. Fisher expressed. 


Returning to school four days a week, each classroom needed to have more desks evenly spaced out for safe learning. “It takes an entire team and village to prepare for increased in-person returns,” Mrs. Fisher explained,  “I want to thank our amazing maintenance and operation crew under the direction of plant coordinator Jack Powell for measuring all of the desks, making sure the classrooms were set to CDPH guidelines, and for all of the cleaning and sanitizing they do to keep us safe!”. 


While on campus, all students were to maintain 3 feet distance from one another and remain at least 6 feet from teachers and staff, with masks being worn at all times. The staff is well aware that it can be difficult to keep masks on for the entire school day, and therefore they have designated mask zones outside every classroom where students can ask for a brief mask break in class. Furthermore, all eating must be done outside, with water being the only thing allowed to drink in classrooms. 


During break and lunch, students were allowed to remove their masks under the condition that they put them back on once they had finished eating, though they were encouraged to leave their masks on when getting up from the lunch tables to throw trash away or walk around campus. The staff has designated three eating locations as well as the blacktop for students to play, including the Plaza, the Arena, and the Knoll. Since BYMS is following CIF/CDPH guidelines, participants in physical activities on the blacktop were allowed to remove their masks with spectators keeping their masks on.


Students participating in the new hybrid schedule are also expected to utilize QR codes and web links to check-in while waiting for school to start, sitting at the tables during break and lunch, and when leaving the classroom during classroom instruction to help with contact tracing. 


Mr. Maes, assistant principal at BYMS, stated that the custodians also helped with putting down stickers throughout the sitting areas outside to show a physical distance of 6 feet in addition to daily sanitation throughout the day. “Having everyone at school means we can see our old friends and make new ones as well, and it benefits students from having less screen time and being more active in the classrooms,” he remarked.


“In the first week of school, our counselor will check in with each of our on-campus students. We know that this has been a difficult time and at BYMS our students’ health, including overall health, well-being, and mental health, is our priority.  Our ASB is excited to host events throughout the week and has worked hard at decorating the campus. Our teachers have opportunities for our students to connect.  We are honored to have this opportunity to connect together as a larger campus,” Mrs. Fisher concluded.