Not shockingly, it has been decided recently to implement yet another new schedule for Marblehead High School. This proposed schedule is planned to only last for two weeks leading up to the start of April Vacation on Monday, April 19, however, the schedule will be modified again after break. What does the schedule entail? The planned schedule for Monday, April 5 through Friday, April 16 includes the return of both cohorts for five half-days on Mondays through Fridays. While the remote Wednesdays will be removed from the schedule, the two afternoon remote blocks per day will continue for the next two weeks. This somewhat complex new schedule also includes the shift from a six-foot distance between students to a three-foot distance between students, a controversial change. Many changes will occur as a result of the new schedule, such as crowded hallways, an increased number of desks returning to classrooms, more classes spending time outside, and the enforcing of many rules for safety measures. Detailed records of student seating arrangements will be kept as the three-foot distance labels students as “close contacts” with their peers and classmates.
Again, this new schedule has created controversy and worry for many students, faculty, parents, and staff involved. Specifically, the three-foot distancing is concerning, as the need for quarantining and the risk for spread of COVID increases greatly. Besides issues with safety, students are distressed about adapting to another new schedule and routine with their schoolwork. According to MHD High School English teacher Mr. Moloney, “In our last faculty meeting, Mr. Bauer mentioned that this is our 11th schedule change yet this year.” Additionally, many are confused as to why MHD can’t wait until September to combine cohorts and return to normal and are questioning certain logistics of the return. Madeleine Molinari, high school sophomore, claims that her “AP Euro class has around 20 students, and it’s located in a smaller classroom. How is it possible to safely include all of the kids while maintaining safe distancing?” These are just a few of the worries noted in certain students.
Senior Abby Schwartz voices her concerns regarding the new schedule change saying, “Between AP tests and MCAS in May, this new schedule will only last for about two months, maybe less. I don’t think it’s worth all of the confusion and complications.” While it is evident that the majority of high school students aren’t eager to return to school, many parents think differently. One anonymous MHD parent was extremely enthusiastic when asked about the change: “It won’t be easy, but it’s necessary to return. I couldn’t be happier!”
After the first few days of school with both cohorts, it is evident that it may not be the most popular schedule change yet this year. The hallways are overwhelmingly crowded making many students uncomfortable, along with packed classrooms. Overall, the feel of the school was extremely hectic during the first few days as students adjusted to the new amount of kids. While the school is trying very hard to work out any issues that occurred during the first few days, starting with adjusting the dreaded one-way hallways, the schedule will no doubt be difficult to get used to for all involved.
“The first day was pretty awful,” said one freshman student. “It was loud, crowded… I may need to double mask from now on. However, it was better than expected, and it improved each day as I became more used to having everyone in the building. By next week it should be fine!” Feedback from students was fairly negative after the initial day, however, it is evident that the more in-person days we have, the better it will get.