The new schedule appears to be a purposeless change


Autumn Zayas

Metea student are rolled out of bed and joined his first class, only to fall back to sleep on zoom.

On the first week back from Thanksgiving Break, Metea unveiled a new school schedule that had previously been designed to accommodate a hybrid learning plan. The hybrid plan had been canceled a week prior, but the schedule stayed. This new schedule starts school at an earlier time and leaves less room for breaks between classes. While I understand there are likely good reasons for this schedule’s instatement, it feels purposeless at best and detrimental at worst.

According to UCLA Health, adolescents often experience a shift in circadian rhythm (the biological clock that determines when someone feels tired and wakes up). This results in teenagers often falling asleep later than they would as children, only becoming tired at around 10 to 11 p.m. instead of eight to nine p.m. 

When this is combined with teenagers needing on average eight to 10 hours of sleep per night to aid their developing brains, it means most teenagers need to be able to sleep into the mornings to access a truly healthy sleep schedule. Yet, school rags on students for not getting enough sleep, and places the blame solely on them. Do we need an earlier schedule that further encroaches on the sleep teenagers need to be healthy? Or, rather, should we work alongside the biological rhythm of teenagers’ brains in order to ensure a learning environment that will be easier for both teachers and students? 

This schedule is aimed to get students “back to normal” and set up a schedule that accommodates hybrid learning. There is an issue here, however, the original hybrid plan this schedule was meant to accommodate—the one that the district had planned to implement in November- no longer exists, instead being revamped into the hybrid plan set for January. It is currently planned to start up in January, but given the meteoric rise in COVID-19 cases, we do not know how likely that will be. All we know is that hybrid and in-person learning are on the horizon, miles away from where we are now. In addition, many families may not want to send their kids to hybrid learning to begin with. 

So where does that leave us? The district is trying to chase a “normal” that no longer exists instead of embracing what we have right now.

So what should be the solution? I would like to see the district administrators put together a schedule similar to the first one we had at the start of the year, designed to optimize virtual learning. Instead of constantly preparing for hybrid learning plans that do not come to fruition, the district should work on improving its technology and educational tactics so they may be a better learning environment. I want to see the district take virtual learning as our current reality instead of a simple substitution for something else. After all, virtual learning presents a kernel of opportunity for new educational styles and methods. 

The district needs to take that kernel and seize it, and that can start with a schedule that befits its students better.