The schedule for Wayne students and staff has been continuously changing all school year. From hybrid models, to fully remote, depending on the severity of the Coronavirus outbreak in our town specifically, the Board of Education has had to make difficult decisions that are difficult for many but are for the safety of our students and staff.
On the 27th of January, many students, parents, and staff were outraged to be aware of a new schedule change during our current fully remote schedule that ended at 12:03 pm. The new schedule would add about five minutes to each class, add a twenty-five-minute office hours block, as well as a forty-five-minute lunch break during the school day. This change extended the schedule to 1:25 pm, which conflicted with many after-school activities that students took part in (clubs, sports, jobs, etc.). Many of the Wayne Hills students expressed their frustrations through petitions, surveys, and participating in the Board of Ed meeting that lasted about 5 hours and ended at around 12:30 am on a school/work night. Many parents and teachers also joined that same Board of Ed meeting to discuss whether it would be safe and beneficial for students to go back to school, many parents exclaiming that school was not a Covid-19 “spreader” and that learning from home was affecting their kids negatively. However, many teachers expressed their safety concerns, as many of them did not want to return to the school building without receiving the Covid-19 vaccine.
The conversation including the issue with the extension of school, and the parents and teachers discussion of whether the school should re-open, finally came to an end when the Board of Education decided that schools would open on the week of the 15th of February, resuming with the choice whether students would like to go back to school. The decision to revert the school schedule to its original 7:20 am -12:03 pm time, would also be set in place starting the week of the 15th. The difference between the schedule starting the 15th, and the original hybrid model schedule is that the A, B, and C cohorts that divided the students by their last name for Covid-19 reasons would combine. Cohort A (the combination of previous Cohort A and half of Cohort B) would enter school for one week except an all virtual Wednesday, while Cohort C (the combination of the other half of Cohort B and all of C) would enter the school the next week with Wednesday all virtual.
Then, starting March 1st (Phase IV), virtual Wednesdays would be removed from the schedule, and Cohort A would enter one full week, while Cohort C would stay home and do school virtually and versa for the week after. After the Spring Break, which is from March 29th-April 2nd, students would return to school and continue with the schedule they had before the break. However, the Board of Education has set a target date of April 19th (Phase V), where the continuity of Cohort A and C would remain, while the change of served lunch and extension of school (7:20-2:16- Regular School Day) would be set in place for the rest of the year. If there would be an emergency regarding COVID-19, the Board would make the last-minute decision to revert Phase V and continue with Phase IV. Both phases still give the students the option to stay home completely virtual.
Although the Board of Education has a set plan for the rest of the year, with back-up plans regarding any Coronavirus emergencies, there is definitely a possibility of a further schedule change, as we’ve seen before.
Do you think the Board of Ed’s decision to revert the school schedule to its original hybrid/remote schedule was due to the inability to have a large gathering of students during the lunch block, or because they listened to the students’ concerns about the new schedule conflicting with their after school activities?
“I think it could be because of lunch. Having so many students together could spread many germs. Although it may have to do with after-school activities, no matter the time the school day ends, there will probably be enough time for extracurricular activities after school. The Board of Education is making the right decisions to help us all through these tough times and changes.” Skylar Levitt
Do you think many students will return back to school?
“I do not think many students will end up returning to school because many of them have already gotten used to being schooled virtually and some may prefer full virtual school now, rather than going back to school physically.”- Lilyana Asmar
How do you feel about the Phase V April 19th plan, allowing students to “sort of” go back to a normal school day, with the exception of Cohorts and the obvious social distancing and mask regulations? Does it make you feel like things are starting to go back to normal?
“I think it will be helpful to go back to school because it will give the students something to look forward to every day, it will also give them an opportunity to see their friends. Some students may feel as if going back to school will help make them feel like everything is going back to normal. This is a good thing because some students and even adults have become depressed because they have not been exposed to socialization for almost a year.” -Andrew Sabeh