With distance learning becoming a new normal for many students across the country, it can be hard to find a new schedule that is equivalent to the pre-pandemic one. Starting May 5, Heritage updated its distance learning schedule from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. to 3:20 p.m., changing the length of classes and the breaks in between.
Previous to the change, classes lasted 30 minutes with 15 minute breaks between and an hour for lunch. Now, classes have been extended to 45 minutes each with 10 minutes between and a 45 minute lunch. With less free time during the school day than before the update in schedule and more time spent in classes, the change has warranted mixed reactions.
Junior Bronte Bredemeyer feels as if the 45 minutes of class time has a negative effect on her ability to focus on school work now that she’s at home. “I have less time to study with the new schedule and less personal time,” said Bredemeyer. “Because school ends later, the new schedule causes me to have to change my afternoon plans, like hanging out with my family.”
Junior Briya Patel feels as if the update hasn’t changed much in her life. “I have just an hour less to do things I want, so it hasn’t impacted my personal life that much.” Despite her neutral feelings to the update, Patel feels the change was announced too late.
Classes have been reviewing material for Advanced Placement (AP) exams since the second week of quarantine, resulting in many AP students missing the benefit of added time to their classes. “It would have been better to have 45 minute review periods from the beginning of distance learning,” said Patel.
The update came especially late for teachers who teach a majority of seniors, like Honors and AP psychology teacher Ms. Krisynda Cicos. Ms. Cicos felt that the update was a great idea but came later than she wanted. “The first week of 30 minute live class sessions went by too fast, and I was not able to get through the material I really wanted my kids to hear.”
The update was announced on the senior’s second to last day of class. However, Mrs. Cicos used this time to spend more time with her students. “I know they wanted to enjoy their last day of high school and to be honest, I wanted to hear them laugh, give one another a hard time and enjoy it, too.”
While not really minding the updated schedule, freshman Emma Leonard still prefers the old one. “I work a little bit later on Tuesdays and Thursdays since I start homework later, but Monday, Wednesday and Friday are about the same,” said Leonard. Despite the longer class times, Leonard feels as if the change in schedule hasn’t really been effective in helping her understand course content. “Teachers are coming up with new things to fulfill the longer class time, which, to me, seems like busy work,” said Leonard. She also feels like she has learned about the same as she had in the weeks prior to the schedule change but, “depends on what the teacher assigns for the week.”
While the update has made some things more difficult for Leonard, it has benefitted in her other ways. One example would be her English class. Prior to the change, her English class wouldn’t have many discussions. Now, however, they have discussions almost every class and students have more time to contribute their ideas.
For sophomore Hannah Myers, the update has been hard to adapt to. When asked how the schedule affects her personal life, Myers explained how she has less time to do what she wants. Because she is taking national merit classes for two hours Wednesday through Friday, she has less free time. “The new schedule doesn’t leave me much time to work out during the day or hang out with my siblings who are home from college for a limited time,” said Myers.
According to eighth grader Kayla Giset, the updated schedule has provided her time to be productive. While the change wasn’t the easiest thing for her to get used to, she still has found a way to make light of the situation. “There are a lot of new projects that I plan on creating for my freshman year,” said Giset, “and this free time gave me the opportunity to brainstorm and set goals for myself.” As far as challenges she has experienced, Giset does say she took the lunch break for granted. “It was heaven,” said Giset.