CRLS Student Opinions and Feedback on the Upcoming Schedule Change

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The schedule for the return to in-person learning on May 10th.

Sarisha Ray, Contributing Writer

It is no secret that this school year has been anything but normal. It’s easy to believe that everyone would have adjusted to the online format of remote calls for classes and meetings by now, but that is far from the truth. The environment of online schooling has made it very difficult for students to concentrate, and the increase of screen time has proven to be an issue for teachers and students alike. 

Despite all the challenges that the coronavirus has brought to education, there have still been some benefits of online learning, one of the main ones being the asynchronous Wednesdays. These Wednesdays provide a day off screens, a day for students and teachers to rejuvenate, catch up on work, or do whatever else that they need to do for themselves. However, there is an upcoming schedule change and it will mean the end of this well-deserved break in the week. 

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has updated their schooling guidelines, requiring each weekday to average 5.5 hours of instructional time. This means no more free Wednesdays, and a lunch break that will be shortened from one hour to thirty minutes. These changes will not be implemented until May 10th, but student opinions are already forging on this alarming update.

When asked how they felt about the upcoming schedule change, sophomore Ifrah Abdullah stated, “With this new schedule I just feel like I would lose my routine of having a day to myself which helped me stay on track and somewhat motivated for my classes … I understand that [the DESE and the CRLS School Committee] are trying to get back to a normal schedule, but this schedule isn’t realistic for any virtual student.”

Myself and others cannot be forced to choose between our education and our health.”

— Tyler Andujar '21

With regards to the loss of the asynchronous Wednesdays, Jinho Lee ’22 said, “The loss of asynchronous Wednesdays will destroy the entire routine that I’ve developed for the past year. All my clubs meet on Wednesdays, and the day served as a sort of ‘reset day’ both mentally and work wise.” Tyler Andujar, a senior, brought up a sentiment shared by many, saying, “People use these Wednesdays to schedule appointments or to do other activities that couldn’t be done on weekends … Myself and others cannot be forced to choose between our education and our health.” 

When asked about the matter, Nila Krishnamurthy ’23, said, “There has been so much change this past year regarding schedules, so having another change so late in the year really upsets me.” From talking to students, it is clear that removing time in the week that was once allocated to students and educators as a “reset day” will have devastating impacts on student’s mental and physical health. Students feel as though they will not be able to perform as well in school, let alone participate in extracurriculars that they are passionate about, without asynchronous Wednesdays. Furthermore, students seem to agree that throwing a wrench into everyone’s lives this late in the school year feels unfair and adds yet another challenge into this already difficult time. 

When asked how the school can alter the schedule so that it will work for most students, Lee said, “If asynchronous Wednesdays are removed, teachers should make a conscious effort to be assigning less homework because it is not productive to be sitting at a desk doing classwork all day and then doing homework for the rest of the day.” Krishnamurthy focused more on the impact to extracurriculars, saying,“I think that [CRLS School Committee] should incorporate advisory and CM into the school days, or maybe allocate an hour on Wednesdays where clubs can happen during school times.” Abdullah added, “I don’t think there is any need for study support to be required for all students.” 

This new change in the midst of an unusual school year will definitely take a toll on the CRLS student population. However, with open conversations and the incorporation of community feedback CRLS can meet the DESE expectations while also implementing a school schedule that supports the community.