Reflecting on school schedule changes


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The Cherry Hill East School District was abiding by this full remote schedule for the beginning of year before giving the hybrid option to students, promptly changing the schedule.

March 13th, a date that will go down in history. We left school that day in bliss hopes of having a two-week break from school. This felt like the ideal time to catch up on schoolwork, get some extra hours of sleep in, and spend more time with family. However, the question gradually shifted from when we would return to school to if we would ever return. The numerous schedule changes that have been made from the summer until now have impacted students in terms of mental health and academic success.

Prior to the official start of the school year, on August 8th, Dr. Meloche announced that the district would be operating on a hybrid schedule and a full-remote learning opportunity with cohorts A and B. Cohort A would attend school, remotely or in-person, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And Cohort B would attend on Wednesdays and Fridays. Mondays would be cooperative learning days for all levels and would be via remote instruction. The school schedule would operate from 7:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M., which allotted 86 minutes for each class and lunch would be from 11-11:30 A.M. School staff made necessary preparations regarding the transition periods from class to class and the hygiene management of classrooms in order to reopen school both safely and effectively. The district had titled this the “We Return to Learn Plan.”

However, this plan to return to school on September 8th was quickly erased due to worries regarding the rise of cases in New Jersey and the district’s preparation for hybrid classes. Due to this, Dr. Meloche announced on September 1st that the district would now be operating on a full-remote schedule until November 9th. To some, this was a relief. “My biggest worry about a hybrid schedule was the kids not following protocol and instructions, which would then infect my family. This all-remote schedule could potentially stop that,” said Ariana Saray (‘22). To others, this was a prolonged period of time that hindered the opportunity to meet their teachers and learn in-person.

When the weekend of November 9th rolled around, uncertainty hindered in the air of whether this was the time when the hybrid schedule would be utilized. Soon after, Dr. Meloche reported that the hybrid schedule would be pushed back until at least November 30th, resulting in the continuation of the full-remote schedule. The full-remote schedule had proven to be effective as a temporary plan. It has definitely provided a new perspective on student accountability and the overall extended possibilities of education.

“When I saw how prepared and smoothly remote classes were going this year, I realized how much the teachers must have prepared for us over the summer. Since we are more accountable for our own education, I feel like I have been growing more as an independent learner and student,” said Jaclyn Kim (‘21). Compared to the remote learning schedules that were established towards the end of last year, this improvised schedule has proven to be much more effective as students are able to have more control over their learning.

Recently, the school district announced that they are now planning for hybrid students to return to school the week of November 16th. The school day is projected to operate from 9:45 A.M. to 2:15 P.M., which leaves enough time for teachers to have preparation time for both their remote and hybrid classes prior to the start time. The return to a hybrid schedule is still shaky as it’s new to all of us.

“Once kids return to school, I do think that it will be beneficial to kids who learn better in-person,” said Christine Do (‘22).

Even if a hybrid schedule successfully takes place for the entirety of the second marking period, there is a long way to go to even return to a semi-normal school setting. “In terms of the safety of returning to schools, we do not currently have a vaccine distributed, so I don’t believe that we can have hundreds of students in the building at once for a long period of time before it closes again,” said Do. Due to this, the school year will remain doubtful for the remainder of the year.

Regardless of whether we do return to a semi-normal school year, we can all acknowledge that this school year will leave us with a new perspective. Who knows what the schedule will be next week? It is solely up to us to make the best of what we are given, and although it may seem quite devastating now, I can assure you that it’s perfectly normal to be overwhelmed. As Gabriella and Troy in High School Musical once said, “we’re all in this together”!