Directives Implement New Distance Learning Schedule

Sim%C3%B3n+S%C3%A1nchez%2C+TCS+12th+grade+student%2C+actively+working+at+home+during+one+of+his+breaks+between+classes.+As+class-time+was+reduced+during+the+new+distance+learning+schedule%2C+most+students%2C+like+Sim%C3%B3n%2C+use+the+longer+breaks+to+finish+up+work+that+wasn%E2%80%99t+completed+during+class.+%E2%80%9CI+really+appreciate+the+extra+free+time+the+school+has+given+us+with+breaks%2C+but+I+feel+they+have+become+more+like+X-blocks%2C%E2%80%9D+Sim%C3%B3n+said.

Simón Sánchez, TCS 12th grade student, actively working at home during one of his breaks between classes. As class-time was reduced during the new distance learning schedule, most students, like Simón, use the longer breaks to finish up work that wasn’t completed during class. “I really appreciate the extra free time the school has given us with breaks, but I feel they have become more like X-blocks,” Simón said.

Isabel Mora, Discoverer Staff Writer

With the ultimate goal of reducing screen time, a new distance learning schedule was implemented by Middle School and High School directives starting September 14. 

After consideration of feedback from multiple stakeholders, such as teachers, parents, and students, classes were reduced from 75 to 65 minutes; breaks were increased from 15 to 30 and 20 minutes, respectively; and lunchtime was increased from 45 minutes to one hour. Initially, this new schedule will be in place for the three weeks left until October Break. 

“We were just trying to reduce what we call ‘burn-out’,” Darian George, High School Vice-Principal, said. “You get to the point where your brain is not as sharp as it was earlier in the day.” 

The increased break time seeks to reduce people’s overall screen time. However, some students feel this will not be effective.

“I think the screen time will not really change with the new schedule. For example, during the breaks between classes I always do homework and continue working,” Salome Beyer, TCS 12th grade student, said. 

Most students and teachers were advocating for shorter breaks between classes and a longer lunch period, as they feel breaks are not long enough for people to get off the screen. 

“I think [breaks] are a waste of time for me. In a half-hour or 20 minutes I can’t really do a lot of stuff. I would have rather had that time put onto lunch,” Brian Summers, AP Human Geography and Global Citizenship and Sustainability teacher, said.  

However, if the lunch break was extended until 1:30 p.m., the school day would’ve ended at 4:00 p.m., which can’t be done, as teachers have contracts where they don’t have to work past 3:20 p.m.

“I would definitely push lunch until later, because I personally don’t have lunch until 1:30-2:00, like we had at school,” Beyer said. “But I understand the school can’t do that.”

Directives also looked into a proposal that included three 90-minute classes per day. However, this proposal was turned down because it could potentially cause excessive screen time.

“I know a lot of teachers were in favor of the three-class day,” Summers said. “For me I was more in favor of the four classes a day, just because that’s how I had planned for my AP classes.” 

Even if screen time doesn’t decrease, most students and teachers still believe the new schedule is a positive change. 

“Overall I think this will be better for our mental health,” Beyer said. “Although I will probably still be working during the breaks, it’s still less time that I need to be focused in class.”