The decision to revert back to the pre-pandemic 50 minute period schedule has already proven to be a practical and beneficial change for the 2021-2022 school year.
The 2020-21 school schedule consisted of four 80 minute periods. The original idea behind this was to minimize student interaction in a single day. Although this schedule helped to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, with most of the study body now fully vaccinated, this precaution is no longer necessary.
For many students, including myself, the longer class periods were a challenge. It was difficult to focus and listen for more than an hour at a time. I often found myself tired and bored by the last 30 minutes of class. It is easier to remain engaged with the subject matter and lesson plans when class periods are shorter. In turn, class time is more efficient and productive.
Another downside of the COVID-19 schedule was the discontinuity that resulted from class periods meeting every other day. Math and science oriented classes are generally mastered through repetition and practice. The one day gap made it harder to grasp the subject matter. It is challenging to perform well when you do not reinforce what you learn every day. Other subject areas were not immune to this downfall as well.
Spreading out the periods evenly across the week, ensures that a day is not too easy or too hard. Too often in the pandemic schedule, there would be one easy day consisting of free periods and electives. Students would then be hit with all of their rigorous classes concentrated into only a few hours. The current schedule which drops two periods a day solves this issue.
Connections, a group of peers to communicate with that encourages meaningful connections between students and staff members, only met once a week on the half-day last year. It is a safe, friendly environment for many students. With the new schedule, the groups are able to meet twice per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 20 minutes.
Finally, it is important to mention the social aspect of the COVID-19 schedule. An important part of school is meeting new people and interacting with your peers. The vaccines have made significant progress in combating the virus, so interacting with more people is less of a public health risk. The current schedule gives students the opportunity to socialize with a greater number of people in a single day.
The 80-minute periods were a good idea but have now become obsolete. The new schedule with shorter periods has proven to increase continuity and establish a more connected community.