Providing consistency

As SHS will return to fully in-person learning next year, a new schedule is being finalized


Elizabeth Valadez

SHS administrators have a new schedule for next year in the works. According to Principal Brian Knight, this schedule will provide more consistency for students.

Since the beginning of COVID-19, SHS has used many different schedules to try to optimize school time while also keeping students and staff safe. This has included completely virtual learning, a two-day hybrid schedule and four days of in-person classes. And each of these schedules have brought their own benefits and complications.

However, next year will bring a schedule that has not yet been used. SHS will return to fully in-person learning, with all students in school five days a week. And the bell schedule will be very similar to the bell schedule that was used in the hybrid model in the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. 

Students will attend periods one through four on Mondays and Thursdays and will attend periods five through seven on Tuesdays and Fridays, with the addition of iPass last period on Tuesday and Friday. And on Wednesdays, they will attend all 7 classes except iPass.

Principal Brian Knight says this decision was made with many different factors in mind, including increasing class sizes and the number of lunch periods required. The administration also considered trying to get back as much normalcy as possible when creating the schedule.

“One of the nice things about it is it’s consistent every week,” Knight said. “Every Monday is these classes, every Tuesday is these classes… So it’s a consistent schedule, and it gives some of that type of structure.”

Even though they think consistency will be beneficial, one concern that the administration had when choosing this schedule was continuing the long, 90-minute class periods. Knight says that he thinks they may be too long for one class. 

However, science teacher John Davis thinks that the block schedule works better than having all of the classes in one day.

“I like that we’re staying with a block schedule,” Davis said. “I’m interested to see how it looks… And I like that they’re spreading it out throughout the week.”

Another concern for this schedule is how it will affect student coursework next year. Sophomore Annabelle Shrieves says she is worried about handling the additional work.

“I’m just worried that our teachers will assign more since they have more time for instruction,” Shrieves said. “And as someone who has not been doing so well academically this year, I feel like I would struggle with that next year.”

Another factor the administration had to consider when creating the schedule for next year was the possibility of a return to a hybrid or virtual format of school if COVID-19 numbers increase. With this in mind, they worked to create a schedule that would not require another schedule change if SHS had to discontinue fully in-person classes. 

“If there is for some reason a spike or (if) a variant of COVID causes issues, that we would be forced back into a hybrid model or whatever it may be, we can easily keep that same schedule that we are kind of using this year and are looking at using next year,” Knight said. “It was kind of designed in a way that regardless of what format we are in, we would be able to function in it.”

For students and families who were uncomfortable with the idea of their students coming back to school during a pandemic, SHS has been offering a virtual learning option this year. However, this option will no longer be available next year.

“If you’re here, we can do things and we can help support you,” Knight said. “But if you’re at home, it’s been a really difficult challenge to try to figure out. How do we work with these students who are maybe not as engaged as they should be in fully virtual?”

Even though completely virtual learning will not be an option, there are still other options for students who do not want that in-person return. Plato and the Cardinal Academy are online learning options that have been available for SHS students since before the COVID-19 pandemic. These will still be available.

Students who wish to do these online courses will have to show proof that they were successful in learning in a virtual classroom during COVID-19 before they will be allowed to take these online alternative courses.

When fully in-person learning continues next year, the use of lockers is going to be considered. During the pandemic, students have been unable to use lockers in order to limit the number of people staying in the hallways, which has helped with social distancing. However, Assistant Principal Amy Boone says that it is possible for lockers to be available for student use next year.

“We’ll kind of get some guidance from the district and the health department over the summer on if we’re going to be able to utilize student lockers again,” Boone said. “Then the passing period would probably increase to about five or six minutes.”

Shrieves thinks that having lockers available again and having longer passing periods built into the schedule will be beneficial for many students.

“I think lockers coming back are a good idea…,” Shrieves said. “And passing periods being longer would be nice too because I haven’t gotten everywhere in four minutes, to be honest.”

Despite various changes that will come with this new schedule, Boone thinks that the structural shift will be managed well by students and teachers.

“Students adjust and adapt very quickly and learn routines and can figure out the structure of what will work for them,” Boone said. “And teachers will adjust as well.”