Graphic by Meg Enquist '23
The challenges associated with educating students amid the Coronavirus pandemic has led to changes in scheduling, along with other policies and protocols. As students and teachers prepare for the potential full in-person return to school, certain elements implemented in the hybrid model should remain intact, while others should be removed.
The current block schedule should continue to be used when students return to full in-person school.
In order to allow for extended flex time, the school day was shortened by 35 minutes. I have found this change to be very helpful since it provides additional time for meeting with teachers or to begin homework assignments.
Another change was the length of every class extended by 30 minutes. Instead of having six 50-minute classes a day, there are now four 80-minute classes a day. I am fond of this change since teachers are finally able to get through an entire lesson in a single class period. With only meeting two or three times a week, I now have the ability to complete homework assignments over the span of two nights instead of rushing to complete an assignment every night.
The confusion of the rotation schedule from last year was eliminated, with every class meeting at a specific time and day each week. Given the circumstances of this school year, it is helpful to have a consistent schedule.
Another significant change to the schedule is that Wednesdays have become a remote half-day. This is beneficial because it gives students more opportunities to meet with teachers.
The Zoom platform has been used to allow students at home to be a part of class. Although students will be returning to school every day, attending class from home home must remain an option. Students will still contract COVID-19 or be a close contact to an individual who tested positive and therefore need to quarantine. Without the use of Zoom, students would have to miss two weeks of school. A lot of material is covered in the course of two weeks, causing students to fall behind in their classes.
Meeting with teachers virtually should also remain an option. This eliminates the complication of getting driven or picked up from school in order to come early or stay late for a meeting with a teacher.
The current policy regarding snow days is that classes would be held virtually after there have been a total of three snow days or the day after there was a snow day. In the past, snowdays would often push back the end of school into summer. This new policy provides students the benefits of a restful day without ultimately losing time from vacations.
Within the physical building, passing time should be extended. Students are faced with the nearly impossible task of following the one way signals while still getting to class on time. Due to this, students have largely stopped abiding by the one-way hallways, and many teachers have neglected to enforce the rule. I recognize the importance of this policy, so giving students additional passing time would reduce the number of students who go against the signs in order to get to class on time.
Lastly, students shouldn’t be assigned a place to go for their free period. Every student studies best in a different learning environment, so limiting the areas where they can study is detrimental to their learning. Some of the furniture around the school should be brought back in order to allow students other places to study. These spaces should be set up so that students can sit alone and remain six feet away from one another.
Once students return to full-in person school, the schedule and use of the zoom platform should continue while the length of passing time and assigned spaces for free periods should be altered. These changes would allow for the best learning environment possible given the circumstances of attending school during a global pandemic.