Block scheduling, good or bad?
With three weeks of a hybrid schedule under our belts, we switch now to a block schedule, having all in-person students back at school every day. While I was confused about the scheduling at first and, to be honest, a little skeptical about how the day was going to go, after the first few days I had gotten the hang of it. On both “Block A” and “Block B” days you go to your first hour every day. I ended up liking the consistency of this with at least seeing one of my teachers daily. From there, you move on to either second or third hour depending on the day. This is the first huge block of the day, and over the course of the first week I found myself not really knowing what time it was. I think since we are so used to our normal schedule, it was hard to make such a drastic change so quickly. Also, I think a huge factor of the block schedule was the class. With the way the classes are split up some people may find themselves having one really hard day and then the next, a really easy day.
Scheduling aside, on our “Red” and “Gray” day hybrid schedule, our number of close contacts was lessened. Teachers were able to follow more physical distancing rules in the classrooms, and the number of students we came into contact with in the hallways and at lunch was also reduced. The thing about the hybrid schedule, however, is the school had no control over where we go on our off day. We could be anywhere, racking up the number of close contacts we have had. There is really no way to eliminate this, but at least with the block schedule the amount of time we are off school was reduced.
Fast forward to the transition into block schedule, and classes are bursting at the seams. While on the hybrid schedule, the teachers tried to give every student their own table to maximize distancing as much as possible. Now, with everyone back in school, this simply isn’t possible, especially with some of the larger classes.
Before we dove into the block schedule I asked what the point of it was, because in all honesty, I didn’t see it. I was told that proponents of the block schedule say, compared to the hybrid schedule, it lets us miss less class time while the teachers sanitize the desks, and gives us less time in the hallways to minimize contact with other students. I understand that, and the cleaning makes sense because we were missing out on about five minutes of instruction at the end of the hybrid classes. But having less contact in the hallway? That doesn’t make sense to me. We all wear our masks at all times while in the building and people we come in contact with while passing in the hallways are only near us for a few seconds. The CDC says, “...close contact is only when you are in contact with someone for more than fifteen minutes with or without a mask on”. So, passing in the hallways for only a few seconds does not qualify. I do, however, know that the board and administration spent lots of time and effort putting this plan together while thinking about how to keep us all safe while returning to school. I am grateful for that, my opinions aside.