Lessons Learned at Xavier School Nuvali After Four Weeks of Hyflex Schooling

Lessons Learned at Xavier School Nuvali After Four Weeks of Hyflex Schooling

   by School President Fr. Aristotle C. Dy, SJ

Both campuses of Xavier School started the new school year on June 20 using the HyfleXS model. Enrollment in San Juan has reached 3,830 students, while Nuvali has 1,476.

Since the Department of Education required 1-meter distancing in the classroom when our school year started, less than 20 students in each class can report to school. They are called the Roomies. The rest of the class follows via Zoom (the Zoomies) using equipment that the school has installed in each classroom (big screen, microphone, camera, and speakers).  In a few grade levels where a big number have chosen to remain online for the time being, students already report daily. 

Under the HyfleXS model, onsite and online students learn together. The Roomies and Zoomies alternate every week in reporting to school, while those with special circumstances can also choose to be Zoomies for the whole first term (ending in Mid-September). Following the rules of the Department of Education, both vaccinated and unvaccinated students are allowed to attend classes in person.  Vaccination, however, is highly encouraged. 

After four weeks of trying out this model, what have we learned? 


At the school gates, each student's temperature is checked, then s/he taps in with their school ID, and also scans the QR code of their daily health declaration form. The faculty and staff do the same  and this helps the school ensure that anyone with flu-like symptoms, or had Covid exposure, cannot report to school. 

We have learned that putting such a system in place requires major follow-through. When parents report that a student has tested positive for Covid, has possible Covid symptoms, or has been exposed to a Covid+ person in their household or elsewhere, the school administration has to do due diligence and inform the class bubble where the student belongs. Following the latest guidance from the IATF and the US Centers for Disease Control, the affected group is asked to remain at home and shift to online schooling. They are also informed of the date when they may return to school. A Covid-negative test is not required after the prescribed number of days has been observed. This varies for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. 

We have also learned that our protocols presume the honesty and goodwill of all stakeholders, specially parents when they fill out the daily health declaration form. We have experienced sending students home because they exhibited symptoms that were already present when they entered the school gates. 

The alternating weekly schedule of Roomies and Zoomies turned out to be helpful when it came  to observing isolation periods. When reports are made from Thursday onwards, the Roomie group is approaching their online schedule anyway, so staying home is not so disruptive. When information comes in the first days of the week, then the shift to online learning happens sooner and results in a longer disruption to the alternating weekly schedule. 

In the first four weeks of school, Xavier recorded 54 (GS 36 + HS 18, 1.4% of the student population) reported Covid+ student cases in San Juan and 8 in Nuvali (GS 6 + HS 2, 0.5% of population). These were largely due to household transmission and was more prevalent in grade school where there are more unvaccinated children. 

The respective classes of Covid+ students were informed and isolation days adjusted accordingly, including for those who may have had direct exposure to them. There has been no sense of panic as people adjusted to this new situation of having mild infections. 

A far bigger number of students, 346 (GS 229 + HS 117, 9% of the population) in San Juan and 119 (8% of population) in Nuvali,  reported flu-like symptoms and were asked to stay home. Though many of these were possibly cases of allergic rhinitis or the common cold, the students were asked to stay home anyway. 

The work of contact tracing and informing affected bubbles is a major undertaking that needs to be carried out on top of the usual administrative duties. The school administration recognizes this in assessing the workload of personnel.

On the whole, mask-wearing is strictly observed in the school setting, even during PE classes. Distancing, however, can only be strictly enforced in the formal classroom setting. It has to be recognized that during breaks, and at the beginning and end of the day, students interact freely and it is not feasible to keep calling their attention. It helps, however, that these interactions most often happen in open spaces outside the classroom. 

In the classroom, much effort has been exerted to ensure proper ventilation. Aside from the air purifier inside the room, one door and one window are kept partially open to provide air flow. This makes the air-conditioning unit work harder, but ventilation and a comfortable temperature need to go together as a safety protocol.