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AP PHOTOS: Teachers improvise to make hybrid learning work

When New York schools reopened in September it was anything but business as usual. With state guidelines for social distancing making it impossible for all students to attend classes in person at the same time, educators prepared for a hybrid model of instruction.

Besides preparing lesson plans and decorating classrooms with the usual “Welcome Back” posters and inspirational quotes, teachers and IT personnel set up computers, cameras, and document readers to be able to reach students who are learning remotely.

Educators now deliver their lessons to half empty classrooms as well as computer screens filled with faces of children logged in from home. As they move from desk to desk helping students with their lessons, they also remind those at home to unmute their computers so they can be heard responding to questions.

Framed through a classroom window, a teacher conducts a class during the coronavirus outbreak at Roosevelt High School - Early College Studies, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Yonkers, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Everywhere, teachers are improvising. Classes are held outdoors. Physical education instructors demonstrate exercise techniques in front of a camera in empty gymnasiums. In some cases, hallways are used for one-on-one instruction or remote learning classrooms. Auditoriums, previously used for school assemblies, are storing furniture and equipment.

One thing that hasn’t changed is teachers’ dedication to their students and the pride they put into their work. Teachers are making the most of the changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Global history teacher Alis Anasol writes the schedule on a white board in her classroom at West Brooklyn Community High School, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in New York. The high school is a "transfer school," catering to students who haven't done well elsewhere, giving them a chance to graduate and succeed. The school is partnered with Good Shepherd Services, who provides advocate counselors to help students achieve their goals. The school, which recently reopened, was forced to shut down for three weeks due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the neighborhood. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

Instructor Frank Esposito submits to a COVID-19 nasal swab test at West Brooklyn Community High School, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in New York. The high school is a "transfer school," catering to a students who haven't done well elsewhere, giving them a chance to graduate and succeed. The school reopened Monday after it was forced to shut down for three weeks due to a coronavirus outbreak in the immediate neighborhood. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

Student Kenny Scottborough, 19, of the Bronx, works on a laptop in a science class at West Brooklyn Community High School, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in New York. The high school is a "transfer school," catering to a students who haven't done well elsewhere, giving them a chance to graduate and succeed. The school reopened Monday after it was forced to shut down for three weeks due to a spike in coronavirus cases in the neighborhood. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

Students sit behind plexiglass at their desks during the coronavirus outbreak as Brian Scarano teaches a fourth grade English class at the Osborn School, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

First grade teacher Megan Garner-Jones teaches students participating remotely and in person during the coronavirus outbreak at School 16, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Yonkers, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Students, teachers, administrators and counselors listen as principal Malik Lewis, foreground, second from left, teaches a history lesson during a pizza party and current eventstrivia quiz in the cafeteria at West Brooklyn Community High School, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in New York. The school is a "transfer school," catering to a students who haven't done well elsewhere, giving them a chance to graduate and succeed. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

Lisa Seale wears a face mask as she teaches chemistry to 11th and 12th graders who are participating in person and remotely during the coronavirus outbreak at Roosevelt High School - Early College Studies, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Yonkers, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Daniel Colli teaches a 10th grade social studies class during the coronavirus outbreak at Roosevelt High School - Early College Studies, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Yonkers, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Erick DiVito demonstrates the clarinet as he teaches a remote music class during the coronavirus outbreak at the Osborn School, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Junior and senior students use smart phones and tablets to do their work in a chemistry class during the coronavirus outbreak at Roosevelt High School - Early College Studies, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Yonkers, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Charisma Poliandro, right, sits with several teachers as she listens during a combination triviacurrent events quiz and pizza party in the cafeteria at West Brooklyn Community High School, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in New York. The high school is a "transfer school," catering to a students who haven't done well elsewhere, giving them a chance to graduate and succeed. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

Francesca Martilotta teaches a fourth grade English class outdoors during the coronavirus outbreak at the Osborn School, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Physical education teachers Jonathan Tuttle, bottom, and Steven Lennon teach a class remotely from the gym at the Osborn School during the coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

A student works at his desk at the Post Road Elementary School during the coronavirus outbreak, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in White Plains, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

First grade students sit at their desks set up for proper social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak at the Osborn School, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Students sit in a distanced pattern from their classmates during the coronavirus outbreak in a Kindergarten class at School 16, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Yonkers, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Marissa De Gaetano, center, looks over a student's shoulder as she teaches a class with students who are autistic during the coronavirus outbreak at Roosevelt High School - Early College Studies, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in Yonkers, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Kindergarten students check to make sure they are standing at the proper social distancing space as they line up to go outside during the coronavirus outbreak at the Osborn School, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

A first grader wears a face mask while doing work in the library during the coronavirus outbreak at the Post Road Elementary School, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in White Plains, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

Desks and supplies sit stacked in the auditorium which is being used as storage during the coronavirus outbreak at the Osborn School, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Rye, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

A student runs down a hallway with markers for proper social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak at the Post Road Elementary School, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, in White Plains, N.Y. (AP PhotoMary Altaffer)

West Brooklyn Community High School students grab slices of pizza in the cafeteria, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in New York, following a current eventstrivia quiz for those who showed up on a rainy day. The high school is a "transfer school," catering to a students who haven't done well elsewhere, giving them a chance to graduate and succeed. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)

Kenny Scottborough, 19, goes up for a shot in an empty gymnasium at West Brooklyn Community High School, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, in New York. The high school is a "transfer school," catering to a students who haven't done well elsewhere, giving them a chance to graduate and succeed. Good Shepherd Services provides advocate counselors to help West Brooklyn's students achieve their goals. (AP PhotoKathy Willens)