Having no School Wednesdays

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Carly Amoriell

Design signifying canceling Wednesday school.

Carly Amoriell, Writer

With virtual school, both teachers and students are being impacted differently than ever before. Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) schools mandate all classes for a short period of time on Wednesdays and many people have questioned whether or not that is for the best. 

 

Susan Carman, a government teacher at Oakdale, expressed multiple different views. “I need all the time I can get,” she emphasized as a teacher preparing her students for the HSA. 

 

In many cases Wednesday can be crucial in order to be sure students are properly taught. Unlike last year, graduate testing will be continued during online classes.

 

Geometry teacher, Shaun Weiss, also highlighted that “the more instructional time that we can get in, the better off the students will be… better test scores you’re going to see, the better SATs.” 

 

Without Wednesday classes, many teachers worry that students wouldn’t get enough information and would do worse on important tests. 

 

Weiss is also a parent of elementary school children. He pointed out that elementary school is the base of a students education and could severely impact their future years. “If they don’t have a good base now they’re going to be hurt down the road,” he stated.

 

When asked if there are negative impacts to not having school, students also made many points. Jasper Proper attends Linganore High School as a Sophomore, “Students may use it as a day to procrastinate,” they admitted. 

 

Procrastination has become a larger conflict with online schools than before. In a home setting there are many distractions that could deter students from finishing work.

 

Proper also spoke about how the setting can impact a students attentiveness. “Students who are neurodivergent may do better in a school setting, or doing work during class hours,” they voiced. Without a certain setting or schedule of some sort, completing work may be difficult on this day off.

 

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) have similar schedules as FCPS although their high school has 8 classes a day that they split into four one-hour classes on alternating days. On Wednesdays, they have check-in options where students can go on a call with any teacher if they feel is necessary. 

 

Tinsley Allen is a Sophomore at Walter Johnson High School in MCPS. She was asked if there are any disadvantages to her schedule. She agreed with Proper in saying that, “It may deter [students] from doing any work”. 

 

Although many people may expect teachers to be fully against having no school, that isn’t particularly the case. Carman expressed how she felt about the Wednesday schedule by saying there’s “not enough time to do anything too meaningful.” Classes are 30 minutes long which she referenced as enough time to do a small review but nothing else.

 

Carman explained her support for the idea of Wednesday being a day for catch up for both the teachers and students. “I am working Saturdays and Sundays every week,” she stressed. Teachers can spend “15 or 16 hours” on the computer grading, putting assignments on schoology, and planning. Carman indicated feeling like she was on her computer far more than she would like to be. 

 

A common theme that was found among students is that they’d like a day off to catch up on work. They also feel stressed and mentally overwhelmed; a day off would help them destress and get sleep they missed out on.

 

Faith Swire, a Sophomore at Oakdale, believes a day off will “keep kids on track and not falling behind so much.” She shared her struggle with falling a couple days behind with virtual school. A day off could help students do better in classes by being able to do work they may have missed. 

 

Swire also has younger siblings she sometimes needs to attend to. The same situation is for many high school students. Since all kids are at home, many older siblings need to take care of younger ones since guardians can’t be at home at all times.

 

Proper communicated that “the pandemic has very much impacted my school work ethic along with my mental health.” 

 

They, along with many other students, have found life with COVID19 detrimental to their mental health which directly impacts their school life. Virtual school has hurt students’ learning by disrupting what they’re used to as well as not allowing them to learn how they can. Many students have found they can’t learn or focus with virtual school. A day off has been suggested as a day to help students mentally as well as being able to redirect themselves in school.

 

Allen conveyed that she liked how Walter Johnson handled Wednesdays. “I like Wednesdays off because I get to just do my work at my own pace,” she shared. 

 

Students can feel overwhelmed or even bored in classes. Self paced work can keep a student motivated. Many students are independent or have become independent learners because of virtual school to which a day off could positively affect. 

 

Carman made a similar point to MCPS schools by saying it “could be used for small group instruction.. Pulling certain kids in to review.” When a kid is falling behind having extra personal help could be exactly what they need. While there are office hours, many kids don’t want to go due to work loads or already feeling tired from school. 

 

Carman also expressed how she disliked the schedule on Wednesday. She didn’t like how classes started later. It caused screentime to extend into the afternoon and she believed students need afternoon time more than morning time. Even with short classes, starting earlier would be more practical. 

 

Another common theme was Wednesday being used for a help day. Faith Swire shared her belief that “if they’re going to make us go on Wednesdays, they could make it so that class is a helping day,” due to classes being so short. Swire wanted to see the shortened classes be used for questions so students could get reinforcement that they can’t get during normal lessons.

 

Many different opinions exist on the topic of taking a day off during class as well as many opinions on changing the schedule. Valid points can be made on all sides.