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Shifting school schedules create confusion

Senior Tanner Roberts and Sophomore Robert Maple walk through the quad during passing period. Photo by Maya Bussinger

COVID-19 has forced its influence in every aspect of our lives, things changed to ensure fewer people get infected. For Bruins that has meant frequent changes to schedules, and by proxy their lives.

The 2020-21 Bear River school year has been many things to comply with COVID-19 restrictions. With the numerous schedule adjustments due to fluxing COVID-19 cases, we’ve gone from Full Distance to the Hybrid Schedule, and from two days a week to four days a week. In addition, students were being separated into two cohorts then merged into one group. With all these changes, how have the lives of students changed to comply with these changes?

Sophomore Bee Chavez has had her life change very little because of COVID-19, making her a great example of changing with the times.

“My personal life hasn’t been affected all that much other than I get more time with friends,” she said. “I feel the fewer hours are necessary but not having school on Wednesday makes no sense to me.” 

Sophomore Gwenyth Devine similarly has been unaffected by the many changes, “I haven’t really seen many changes in my personal life. not seeing my friends every day was definitely something to get used to but I’ve managed to see them in other ways,” she said.

Senior Stowe Kareisher has been greatly affected by the schedule’s changes. 

“I was a lifeguard so I actually couldn’t work at all because you had to get recertified and things like that and the classes got all shut down,” said Kareisher. “Other than that, just sports-wise it was hard because you can’t really get people to practice if they’re quarantined all the time. All of my games got canceled because of that.”

Mr. Peter Gammelgard, Bear River’s Physics teacher, revealed the schedule struggle from the teacher’s perspective,

“The change from one schedule type to another has been difficult,” he said. “Trying to ensure that students at home and students in the class are all getting something meaningful has been a challenge. Doing the same thing for in-person students as at-home students means that neither group gets what I think would be best. So, doing different things for each group takes a lot more time and energy.”

On average the changes to the schedules haven’t been the main thing that has bothered our beloved Bruins, but the schedules themselves have definitely provoked critique.  While there are many differing opinions on what should be changed and how, Bruins have plenty to say on the topic.

Chavez had plenty to say about the current schedule.

“I just don’t understand why we have a middle week break,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it but it seems unnecessary. Both in a sense, like if you say office hours are open no one will go but if you assign an in-school day the schedule will be off so the schedule and no school on Wednesday is not needed.”

Devine also had opinions to voice about the issue.

“I think sending everyone back full time was a bit premature, especially since there are more cases developing,” she said. “It might’ve been more beneficial to wait to reopen in the long run. I preferred the very first [schedule] with the 30-minute breaks in between. It was nice to have time to regroup and work on assignments from the earlier class.”

While students have had to deal with plenty this year with how fluid this school year has been, there is hope for the future that we will be going to school 5 days a week once again. The systems we’ve had haven’t been perfect, but this is a new experience for everyone, but the systems have gotten progressively better for everyone and closer and closer to a ‘normal’ schedule.

Personally, I think that the current schedule is pretty alright. It works somewhat well for students in person, as teachers can be asked questions and give personal help (to a degree) for those in class, and if students have the initiative, students who are full distance can join the office hours for their classes and get the extra support they need. The only issue with this year is how the low level of motivation students have shown, but that isn’t really at the fault of the school, since the Bear River Staff aren’t responsible for the regulations put to deal with COVID-19.

So in conclusion, this year has been very flexible in structure for better or for worse, but so far the students have mostly held out and soon we will hopefully be free of this schedule.

Mr. Gammelgard had one warning to give about the schedule. 

“Student grades and learning has been significantly below “regular” levels this year,” he said. “This has been disheartening, though validating. Most students learn more and better when they are physically present with their peers and their teachers.”

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Shifting school schedules create confusion