The Detriments of Drawn-Out (School) Days

During the 2020-2021 school year, students and administrators alike have dealt with the several schedule changes imposed by the district to ensure the efficiency of remote learning despite COVID-19 circumstances. These changes lengthened class periods and reduced breaks in between classes—an issue that has inspired much disapproval and frustration within the Edison community. With these changes, it is only natural for a concern regarding mental health to arise. As it is known, humans function best when maintaining a routine. However, these changes have served to alter the Edison community’s daily routine greatly.

Mrs. Robin Connell, a physics teacher at Edison High School, says, “For me going from a half an hour class to the forty-minute class or thirty-five-minute class made it so that lessons that I had in my mind had to be converted to fit in that longer period and then shorter and then longer. That effect was definitely wearing on me because I was like ‘Can I finish this?’ or ‘Can I not finish this?’” The lesson plans made by teachers are being affected by these schedule changes, because switching from shorter and longer classes makes it difficult and confusing for teachers to plan out the year effectively. 

Because of the evident complications of the altered schedules, concern in regards to reverting back to the traditional schedule from entirely in-person learning has arisen as well. Mayukha Ragimanu ‘22 says, “…I think the weird shifts are going to have effects next year when we’re back in person, because it’ll be a much more drastic change compared to the alterations we experienced during remote learning.” Students remembering and committing to a singular schedule throughout the year can make next year when we’re back to full in-person instruction difficult.  

Despite this backlash against the schedule changes, many members of the Edison community have displayed understanding to the district for imposing such shifts. Sanjana Suresh ‘22 says, “To be honest, the schedule did go from what was most comfortable for students to what was best for them. So yes, I do believe that these schedule changes were important.” Many students, despite the negative effects of the schedules, have said that the schedule changes were necessary to find what’s best for both the students and the teachers. Changing the schedules allowed for the administration to see what works for everyone in the schools. 

The schedule changes of the 2020-2021 school year have, evidently, added to the stress and mental fatigue members of the Edison community have already experienced due to the present self-isolation conditions. Adding on to the topic of the necessity of routine, Connell says, “I think [these schedule changes] have added to the fatigue…but, once you have a pattern, it becomes easier.” Hopefully, the in-person learning format will facilitate the establishment and maintenance of this pattern.