By Sarah Linthicum
The four model schedule has been something extremely new for all of us, and it has taken some getting used to. There are currently four online classes a day 45 minutes each, a 15 minute break in between classes, and a two hour time slot in the middle of the day to allow room for lunch and extra work time with teachers.
Once the first semester has ended, a new possibly hybrid plan for the second semester is to return to in person classes while continuing with the four class model, which is still subject to change. There are many questions we all have regarding the four class schedule for the second semester, and how it will affect a typical day if we do go back seeing as we have never had this schedule before.
It is set that on October 22 the full criteria for a reopening plan, and ideas for the transition to a hybrid model, will be presented to the HCPSS Board of Education. Following, on November 5 the full hybrid model will be presented to the HCPSS Board of Education. To determine the safety and possibility of the return to school the HCPSS Central Office staff will be reviewing data and monitoring practices to decide on any necessary adjustments to be made in regards to teaching and learning.
Online classes each being 45 minutes long, the school day currently begins at 9 am and ends at 2:55 pm. A typical school day prior to COVID-19 began at 7:25 am and ended at 2:10 pm. Along with new class times, the year is split into two semesters meaning students have four classes in the first semester, and four during the second semester, which adds up to eight classes a year. Typically students have seven classes total in one year, so the addition of another class has led to these schedule changes.
Hammond High teacher Mrs. Tsavaris finds the new schedule to be logistically easier simply because there are fewer classes to keep track of, but she says “I miss being able to circulate around the room and check on my students’ progress during class.”
Similar to Mrs. Tsavaris, Hammond High teacher Mrs. Barlow says she too prefers the six period schedule, and “I think four periods go by too quickly online, it speeds up the pace, and you have to cover topics quickly making it difficult to ensure that students are all caught up”. Although students know they will have four classes in the second semester regardless of whether we do go back or not, students and teachers are still unsure of how different school days will look if it is safe to return.
It is hard to say what the outcome of the second semester will be, as plans can change at any time due to the many uncertainties we all face. It is important for all of us to make ourselves aware of the current situation, and how it will affect school throughout the entirety of the year. Classes may continue online through the end of the 2020-2021 school year, students and staff may have to adapt to a hybrid schedule, or if it is safe enough there is a possibility that we could return. While it may be a challenge as we all face unclear times, it is important to stay updated and aware of changes being made that affect us schoolwide.