Hybrid Learning, In-Person Instruction, COVID Procedures, and More

Your Back-to-School Guide for Second Semester

By Uma Ribeiro and Sarah Meklir

Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor

Lunchtime will look pretty different now. Hammond’s cafeteria is now spaced out to ensure a safe environment for students and staff.

The New and Updated Schedule 

As of March 1st, 2021, HCPSS has implemented a new schedule for all students in order to accommodate the needs of those students who have chosen to return to in-person learning. A school day for all high school students now begins at 7:45 am and ends at 2:30 pm. Aside from group V–students who are remaining fully virtual–and group E–students who are learning in-person 5 days a week–the schedule is a hybrid of virtual and in-person learning for students in groups A and B. 

All students who have now transitioned from online learning full time to full-time in-person instruction will be in school from 7:45 to 10:15am on Wednesdays. Those who transition from full-time online learning to a hybrid learning schedule will be asynchronous on Wednesdays, as per the old schedule. 

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Working in a Pandemic: Columbia Employees Share Their Stories

By Jordan Rodriguez 

Staff Writer

By Ella Koeze. Employment rates are seasonally adjusted. | Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Unemployment: Prior to Covid-19, the unemployment rate was 3.5% to 4.0% from 2018 to 2019. But since then, over 20.5 million people have lost their job and the unemployment rates have jumped to 14.7% in April of 2020, which is the highest rate of unemployment since The Great Depression. 

Covid-19, the pandemic that took everyone by storm. It has impacted many over the past year and has taken away millions of jobs. For many, this led to returning to work with greater responsibility in the same job title, but with cut hours and cut pay. Some people stated that because of Covid-19, they fear for their financial and physical safety. Some people say that they would rather take the unemployment benefits than go to work everyday. Wages were cut due to the lack of business that was coming in and caused them to lose tons of money. Driving apps such as Uber and Lyft have been declining rides due to too little or no one wanting to be in the car with a stranger and risking the safety of both rider and driver. 

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Climate Change: Texas Snowstorms and the Polar Vortex

By Lydia Jensen

Staff Writer

Montinique Monroe-Getty Images

Though the Texas snowstorms are over, there are lasting effects from the event. The timeline for the storm varies from area to area, but massive power outages were experienced all throughout the state during the event, and for some time after.

Specifically, about 4.3 million power outages were experienced throughout the state, with 14.9 million residents in counties that reported weather-related operational disruptions, as reported by ABC 13.

Regular Texan citizens were not prepared for heavy snowfall, but neither was the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, who operate 90% of Texas’s deregulated power grid, as their internal meeting only discussed the storm for 40 seconds prior to the event. Many later resigned (KSAT 12 San Antonio).

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Persona 5 Strikers: Switch vs. PS4 Graphical Comparison

By Leaana Khan

Staff Writer

Persona® 5 Strikers for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Game Details
Image Source: Nintendo

Persona 5 Strikers was released on February 23rd for Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Steam. The game is a crossover between Atlus’s hit JRPG Persona 5 and Koei Tecmo’s hack-and-slash series, Dynasty Warriors. Since it’s a hack-and-slash, there is a lot going on in the game at once and it is important that the system can handle everything happening. Despite spending almost four years in development, it falls short of the graphical standards it should have reached. 

While it is obvious that the Steam version has the best performance, there are more comparisons to be made about the graphical performance of the two console versions of the game. Both of these versions are completely viable options to play the game: however, there are certainly some major differences in graphical capabilities.

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Hammond’s Online Opportunities: A Guide for Students

By Halimah Kargbo

Features Editor

Hammond High School on Twitter: "Golden Bears: what is One Thing you can do  today to show your commitment to your academic goals? #OneThingWednesday  http://t.co/xlT9D05vXG"
Image Source: Hammond High School Twitter

This online school year has provided unique opportunities for students to engage with their teachers and peers from home. There are so many ways to stay active with clubs or even get extra help with academics all using Google Meet. 

“I’ve participated in the Afterschool Tutoring program three times this year, one of them as a tutor,” says senior Jac’ey Wynn-Ogunbode. “All three times were for one subject and I would rate it as effective. I got one-on-one support and ample time to ask questions.”

Even though the opportunities are available, it doesn’t seem like many students are reaching out and taking advantage of them. With the Afterschool Tutoring program in particular, there are times when few students are in attendance.

“Not many students attended the support session. There were 2-4 students at most whenever I went, but I can’t complain because I got a chance to learn and practice problems in a small environment,” Jac’ey adds.

No matter the reason why many students aren’t coming, it’s still important to get the word out for those who are interested in coming in after afterschool for any reason. Thus, here are some of the ways for students to receive help or engage with the Hammond Community with the click of a button:

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Studio Ghibli: Once you watch one, you can’t stop!

Ghibli films are out of this world animations.

By Gabrielle Fernandez

Staff Writer

Graphic: James Bareham/Polygon | Source images: Studio Ghibli

Trying new things, playing new games, and watching new movies are some of the ways to keep ourselves sane in these weird and troubling times. Having all this extra time inside our homes gives us opportunities that we may not have had before to discover new things that we love. A part of trying new things means going outside the box, and Studio Ghibli movies are perfect for that. 

Studio Ghibli was founded by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata on June 15, 1985 as a Japanese animation studio. With a collection of 21 movies in total and one planned to be released in 2023, there are quite a few to choose from when selecting which one you want to watch first. 

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Robinhood: Safeguard or Tyrant?

By Joseph Gray

Staff Writer

Robinhood 2021 Review: Is It a Top Pick? | The Ascent by Motley Fool
Image Source: Robinhood

Robinhood, a widely popular stock trading app that is advertised to teens and adults, has come under fire. In the past year, two major events have transpired. Back in June, 20-year old Alexander Kearns was trading options on Robinhood. A student at the University of Nebraska, Kearns had picked up stocks and stock trading during the COVID-19 quarantine. Kearns awoke one day to find that the Robinhood app claimed he was $730,000 in debt. 

Confused and broken, Kearn’s took his own life on June 12th, 2020. Kearns left a note reading, “How was a 20 year old with no income able to get assigned almost a million dollars worth of leverage?” It was quickly discovered that Kearns app had glitched and in fact, did not have that much leverage. Robinhood has since apologized and promised changes to the platform, yet come 2021, nothing has changed and no one has been held responsible for the death of Alexander E. Kearns.

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The 2020 Maryland Census Delay

And how this impacts funding for the Hammond Community 

By Lizzy Hughes

Staff Writer

Image Source: CNN

The Hammond community is represented by the Maryland State Governor, as well as the state representatives in Congress. The population of Hammond students is largely impacted by the state census that is collected once every decade, as the census determines how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed to the public school systems in Maryland. If the data is inaccurate, communities with large populations of minorities might not be represented and the public schools in those districts would not receive the resources they need. 

The US Census Bureau planned to get the results of the 2020 census data by the end of March, but in the last few weeks, officials said they would not release the data until the end of September. This decision delay means that Maryland lawmakers will not be able to redraw the state’s political boundaries before 2022. The Bureau stated that the delay was because they had a difficult time surveying every household in the nation face to face due to COVID-19. 

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Award-Winning Animated Series, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Getting a Second Season

Demon Slayer Season 2 Finally Gets New Trailer & Vague Release Date

Demon Slayer: Kimestu no Yaiba season 2 cover art

By Allison Diaz

As 2021 just begins, it has been announced that Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, will be getting a second season. No exact date has been released for the second season of Demon Slayer, but it is safe to say that it will come out sometime in 2021. The announcement was confirmed during the Demon Slayer Matsuri Online-Anime 2nd Anniversary Festival. 

The cast and crew from the previous season and movie will be returning to adapt Tokyo’s red-light district arc, which is the sequel of the Mugen Train arc.

Many fans are delighted to hear about Demon Slayer: Kimestu no Yaiba getting a second season. 

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Vaccine Rollout for Teachers in Howard County

By Bella Kaguyutan

Staff Writer

HCEA Protest
Image Source: Baltimore Sun 

As the return to school has fallen upon us, teachers across Howard County have expressed concern and discontent with the hybrid model. On January 21st, Governor Larry Hogan made a call to action for all Maryland schools to return by March 1st. Following this announcement, Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) created a hybrid plan in which all students who want to return to in-person learning will be in the classroom by April. As the reopening of schools approached, more and more questions of safety came to light. 

Maryland is one of 28 states where educators are listed as a specific group to receive the COVID-19  vaccine if they choose to do so. Educators were a part of Maryland’s 1B Phase of vaccine rollout, but according to an unnamed member of Hammond High School staff, receiving the vaccine was, “Extremely challenging for teachers where for a while it was like a poorly run lottery system, where it was first come first served in who could claim the vaccines the fastest.”

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