by Julie Edelstein ’22
Published Oct. 16th, 2021
After over a year of virtual schooling, student morale was low. The troops were burnt out and unmotivated. It has been a long-awaited return to normalcy. To put it into perspective, now-freshmen were still in the Lower Middle School last time students had a full normal year. Long-awaited, indeed.
The anticipation for the new upcoming school year was incredible, but when put into action, the consensus was one of general disappointment. When students across multiple grades were anonymously surveyed, the new school schedule earned a not-so-stellar mean grade of 2.8/5 points on its beginning of the year assessment.
Although it is understandable that much of what was lost from the pre-COVID-19 days has been removed to ensure general safety, there are still evident causes for concern. The primary example of this is the lunch schedule, which 100% of surveyed students believe should be changed. Before the era of social distancing, all students had unit lunch together. Now, they are divided into quarters depending on their classes and are directed to either a flex period or lunch.
There are multiple problems to be acknowledged. First, students in the third and fourth lunch periods are meant to wait an extra hour and a half to eat. “Three blocks of classes in a row is pretty exhausting, but also I’m starving by the third block which makes it really hard to focus,” laments a senior. Coupled with only twenty three minutes to eat, students find it difficult to properly take in a breath and catch a bite.
Another significant drawback with the lunch schedule is the deprivation of student socialization. True, some find themselves in lunch with a handful of friends, but many also spend the time alone. The mental detriments that coexist with an inability to spend time with others are undeniable, and nobody wants to relive the solemn quarantine experience of eating in silent isolation.
Despite the widespread frustration with the lunch schedule, many noted that the extra half an hour in the morning after changing the school start-time was beneficial. Still, there were negative reactions to this as well. “For me, this means I get home late and with sports, I’ll have less time to do homework and sleep,” one student explains. Others note that the extra time does not make much of a difference as they still have to endure the same pains of waking up before the sun everyday.
Students are exhausted, and there should be no question why. With a combination of early start times, later lunches, longer classes than last year, separation from friends, and the weight of a health-threatening virus, it is not difficult for busy achievers to find themselves exhausted and unmotivated. While the normalcy everyone seeks may still be a few steps away, what matters is that now, everyone is at least able to take the steps out together.