After months of quarantine, an isolated summer, and virtual school, students are back in the classroom a year later. It’s been a year since the beginning of Covid in the United States, and the school schedules have undoubtedly changed over the course of the year.
The most recent update began on Friday, Jan. 8th when Governor Whitmer issued a statement urging all Michigan K-12 schools to return to an in-person learning environment. The statement was not an order, as she continues to allow school districts to make their own decisions using their best judgment, but rather a recommendation.
“The value of in-person learning for our kids is immeasurable, and we must do everything we can to help them get a great education safely,” Whitmer said.
She followed the statement with a variety of guidelines to keep students and faculty safe, such as increased ventilation, masks, social distancing precautions, and daily symptom screenings.
Many Michigan school districts followed shortly with a tentative plan to reintroduce students into the building, including the Rochester Community School district.
Starting Jan. 27 RCS transitioned to a hybrid model. The high schools divided into two cohorts, each attending two days of in-person and virtual school. This hybrid model was used to transition students back into full in-person instruction beginning on March 1st.
The schedule includes the full school population and instruction Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays include first through third hour and Tuesdays and Fridays include fourth through sixth, with Wednesdays alternating each week. Students are given 10 minute breaks halfway between each class, as well as 10 minute passing times.
The schedule also includes four lunch periods in order to limit contact with other students. At each lunch table there is a QR code scanner where students can log where they are seated that day, in case contact tracing must be done. Additionally, seniors are allowed off campus lunch in order to reduce the amount of students in the building during periods where masks must be taken off to eat.
The new schedule is definitely an adjustment, and one that many students have strong feelings about.
“It felt weird having so many students there and seeing people I hadn’t seen in almost a year,” senior Elise VeCasey said, “but I’m glad we have figured out how to adjust to Covid while still being able to go to school.”
The new schedule also brings up some concerns for some students, who may have preferred the hybrid schedule more.
“I miss being able to sleep in some days with the hybrid schedule, and I know I’m gonna miss going to class from my bed,” senior Stephanie Glaspie said.
Overall, the schedule is definitely an adjustment for both students and teachers, but the additional class time will certainly be valuable to both students and teachers as strides are made towards our educational goals.