As the new year comes to a virtual start, there is a new schedule that allows for an early release in the afternoon. Although this early release has its benefits, it comes with its fair share of problems. Designed for proper application of social distancing protocols, this new schedule will allow students to navigate campus safely, without creating “traffic jams” along pathways. This new schedule posts an interesting set of both benefits and challenges, and to better understand the response of peers, we interviewed a few Bells to see how they felt about it.
As the new students on our (virtual) campus, Freshmen are the only class that hasn’t been able to have the authentic Bellarmine experience on campus. As students who have never acclimated to high school in person, they’ve spent all their time here at Bell in their bedrooms instead of in a classroom. However, the freshmen that were interviewed all had opinions similar as the upperclassmen. Patrick in the Class of 2024 said, “The biggest benefit of the new semester is that we get out at 2:15 every day, so school ends earlier.” This was a very common view on the new schedule, as it provides more time for extracurricular activities.
Sophomores, on the other hand, got to spend over a semester at the Bell campus last year. The class of 2023 got sent home early in the 2019-2020 school year, and below, two anonymous students shared their thoughts and comparisons of the new schedule. “The schedule doesn’t necessarily have any benefits for me, but for people who may have better motivation to get stuff done quickly, this new schedule is better for them.” Chalking it up to personal motivation, this schedule will definitely need to be adapted to in order for quick results in the success of the affected.
As the only two classes with more than a full school year spent in person, Juniors and Seniors have had the most experience, and a similar opinion. In an interview with Juniors Dhruv and Peter, both stated that although the new schedule had its disadvantages, it also came with silver linings: “…one benefit that this schedule has that the other one didn’t is my new ability to exercise more, given that school ends pretty early in general when it is still warm,” says Dhruv. By being able to hop off class calls earlier, remote students can spend more time relaxing, whether it is through physical activity, getting outside, or even just turning off the screen.
The Seniors, class of 2021 have the most experience with Bellarmine and its many opportunities. But this face to face experience is still not the same as the new virtual workspace we find ourselves in. Each class has its hardships, but the seniors are trying to finish up their high school careers while sitting at home. An odd feeling, sure, but above all, they may be missing out on opportunities that would be provided if not for the Covid-19. Luckily, this new schedule will allow for more student activity on campus and will hopefully restore a sense of normalcy that comes as a comfort to some. After interviewing a few of these top dogs, Christopher had this to say: “school does start later than it did the past years, at 8:35 instead of 8:05. I do understand the changes they made to the schedule and how it might help students obey the Covid rules, but personally, I do not like the new changes.”
To get some answers on what this new schedule will look like on campus, we interviewed Mrs. Luscher. As we suspected, this new schedule was established to ensure the safety of the students at Bellarmine. The longer passing periods allow for more cautious travel and provides time for students to switch mental gears and still arrive on time for class. When asked about the earlier start time, Mrs. Luscher informed us that students who arrive at Bellarmine via train arrive earlier than necessary. “[Train riders] arrive pretty early, so to start at nine, they would have to wait quite a while before the start of school.” Now, students who arrive by train will cut down on “wait time” by twenty-five minutes. The early release also provides a given time for clubs to gather, all the while, not cutting into sports. All in all, this new schedule will do its best to allow students to re-adapt to in-person school life.
Overall, the new schedule will be optimal for safe, in-person learning, even if it comes as a slight inconvenience to those who are remote. With early release giving students more time to complete homework, and consequently, more time away from the Surface, students are provided with the opportunity to succeed. Additionally, the longer passing periods will give both teachers and students alike more time to follow disinfecting protocols in between periods. The new schedule may have some downfalls but is an exciting first step towards all of us being back on campus!