Students offer thoughts on in-person schedule for 4th quarter

by Jeremiah Edwards/Staff Writer

Photo Caption: Abby Morgan, and Shelby Robinett, both 10, meet with a classmate in yearbook while they are in-person and the classmate is at home on the previous hybrid schedule.

Greenfield-Central High School switched to its new schedule after spring break. Previously students were put into splits based on their last names, A-K and L-Z, A-K going into the building on Monday and Tuesday and L-Z going in on Thursday and Friday. The Cougar Day, which is on Wednesday places every student at home. With the new schedule the splits don’t exist and everyone who is supposed to be on site goes everyday besides Wednesday which is still a Cougar Day. After winter break, GC opted to stay hybrid. At first rumors were the school would be hybrid the rest of the year but after a promising third quarter, and of course a school wide vote, GCHS opened its doors for all students who opted to be onsite to be in the building at the same time. The separation felt long as many students hadn’t seen each other since the beginning of the school year before the eventual progression into a hybrid schedule. The question is, how do students feel about this new schedule? How has it affected them so far? Which schedule has benefited them the most? 

   From the students who were interviewed, most have a fair to strong liking of the new schedule, noting that the only big issues are the loss of sleep, more people, and a bigger workload. Cooper Cox, 10, said, “I struggle with online learning…the new schedule holds me more accountable” but when asked what are the advantages of the old schedule, Cox cited, “The old schedule gave me more time to sleep.” Michael Runions,10, also emphasized how the old schedule gave him more time to sleep and how he had to change that habit. “During hybrid I would stay in bed for most of the day or I could sleep in during my EB but now since we are in school I make sure I’m awake and out of bed in the morning.” Though he also understood that being online for 3 days a week wasn’t the best for him, citing that the old schedule is not favorable over the new. “I do not favor the old schedule because I missed all of my friends and sometimes I would get confused because everything was online, and now I actually have my teacher in person to ask questions,” Runions said. 

Runions highlighted another way the old schedule benefited him but underscored that it might not compare to the new schedule. “The old schedule did let me go into the week a lot smoother because I was virtual Monday and Tuesday, but other than that I like the new schedule more.” Addie Coombs, 10, supported this feeling that the new schedule is draining and tiring, yet saw this is needed and prepares us for the future school years. “I don’t mind being back in person all four days a week.  The longer we go with this schedule the more tired and drained I feel. But either way, we will have to get used to this because there’s more school in the future.”

Tiahna Ayres, 11, supported the new schedule, stating, “I like that we are back four days a week, I have more motivation to do my work and it’s a lot easier to get help from teachers.” Ayres also gave some challenges. “Some challenges are it is more likely that we’ll get quarantined, which puts us out at home for a few weeks. Another thing is we got so used to being at school two days the last year, all of our social anxiety is through the roof and we don’t know how to interact with one another as easily as we did before.” Coombs gave her take on the schedule, emphasizing how important being hands-on with teachers really is. “One of the benefits is being able to see your teachers nearly everyday of the week so it isn’t as hard to get behind like we could with the hybrid days. It’s easier to ask questions, get assignments, papers, etc. But a challenge is having everyone in the building while we are in the middle of a pandemic.”

Students do have very different opinions about Cougar Day. Mario Steverson, 10, stated “I feel like the new schedule is as safe as it can be. As much as I personally resent the Wednesday Cougar schedule, it’s our best bet to be here for the remainder of the school year.” Runions, on the other hand, appreciated the Cougar Day but also enjoyed the push for normalcy. “I feel like we are getting somewhat closer to normalcy. I do appreciate the Wednesdays too because I do like being virtual for that day and staying home.” Ayres, 11, had a third opinion, citing a pro and con of the Cougar Day and supporting the opinion that the new schedule is better than our previous one. “I wouldn’t change anything about the schedule now because I like the Cougar Day. I like how it is a shorter day to get us caught up on our work and to start a new unit in a faster but organized way. The only thing I dislike about the Cougar Day is how fast the classes all go and how much work is assigned by certain teachers.”  

Abigail Coughenour, 10, made the Cougar Day debate spilt even further. “I absolutely hate the Cougar Days because some teachers don’t understand how long 45 minute classes are.” Kye Jocham, 11, pushed the debate to one side. “I really dislike the Cougar Day because it’s very difficult to squeeze all eight classes into one day and it feels like class time is just wasted because it is so short.” Macy Kirkpatrick, 10, helped develop a middle ground between the two opinions. “Cougar day is stressful because some teachers assign too much, but on the other hand I like being comfy at home.” Coombs stated a pro about the Cougar Day, “What I like about the Cougar Day is that we all get a chance to get in touch with all of our teachers in one day instead of waiting for a day.” Iris Pinto Hidaldo gave a thought on the Cougar Day, “I like that now the teachers know that we need a more relaxing day and they don’t assign a lot of homework.” Rylie Voigt, 10, strengthed the argument against Cougar Day across this group of students. “I would change Cougar Days because I strongly dislike attending all 8 classes a day. Each class is almost too short to complete any work, and we almost always have homework that we couldn’t get done in class.” The verdict is in, for at least this group of students: The Cougar Day has some flaws. 

Ian Gross, 10, felt as if the new schedule is okay. He liked not having full classes but felt that being able to ask questions as easy as it is now is a good thing. “The new schedule is okay; it’s not good or bad. It benefits me by making it easier to ask questions to help learn. I liked the old schedule because my classes weren’t as full.” 

Pinto Hidaldo liked the schedule but also saw a habit that needs to be retained. “As an exchange student I like it. It’s a more normal experience than I have had in the last months that I’ve been here. Now I have more opportunities to make friends, and also it is easier to be focused in class. I think it is also difficult to get up all mornings and get ready because I lost that habit.”

Kirkpatrick had a differing opinion, “I prefer when only half of the school is here. That is because class was more group conversation unlike when everyone is here where I have to raise my hand and talk in front of the class.” Kirkpatrick also cited challenges “Challenges include having to talk to more people and just being in this climate longer.” 

Voigt kept the trend of “pushing for normalcy” in some respects and cited some common issues among students on the hybrid schedule and how it’s better now. “I am actually pretty happy being all back in the same place four days a week; it almost feels normal aside from the masks. It’s harder for students to slack off in classes now, and it’s easier to pay attention. Honestly, being in-person doesn’t really have any challenges for me. (I don’t like) having to wake up early every day, but that’s life.” 

  Being a freshman and getting used to high school is not an easy task on its own; in a pandemic it’s an entirely different story . These freshmen showcased their thoughts on how the schedules have affected them and which one is better. 

Elizabeth Blagburn, 9, said, “I think that the new schedule is a lot since we haven’t been all in person since the beginning of the year. I think that the benefits are making new friends and experiencing what it is like to be a freshman. Some challenges are having a lot of work and not enough time to fit it into my schedule. I am a full time student and a dancer. My life is hard enough. Piling more work on top of it makes it harder for me to focus.”

Jadon Brinley, 9, said, “Well, I don’t really like being back more days a week. I spend a lot of time in a good portion of my classes on both blue and gold days that if I were home I could use better. I prefer to be home than at school because it’s not really more difficult for me to learn at home than it is at school. The benefits of being back would be seeing your friends more and there are more opportunities to do things such as labs in science and practical building in engineering classes.”

Colin Eddington, 9, said, “I think it’s helping me learn more because I have to pay attention. The challenges are primarily for the teachers because for the better part of a year they haven’t had to deal with as many of us and thus must feel overwhelmed.” 

The freshmen capped off their thoughts by dictating if anything needed to be changed about the schedule.

Blagburn said, “I think I would change our schedule by having another day at home. This day will be a catch up day no meets. We are free to work on everything. It would be like one big study hall. I dislike having the meet because most teachers just give us the work and explain it on google classroom. I think every teacher should do that. We are getting old enough to figure everything out for ourselves and if we need help we can ask. So if they hold an optional meet for questions I think that would be the best.”

Brinley said, “I wouldn’t really change anything about the schedule because it’s fine as it is.” Brinley also talked about the Cougar Day: “Finally, I kind of like the Cougar Day. Especially now because it’s the only virtual day of the week. And because most of the classes are easier on Cougar Days because of limited time so there’s less work to do.”

Eddington said of Cougar Day, “This schedule feels like it works pretty well and could be useful.The Cougar Day teachers treat the day like a full class day and thus give out as much homework.” 

    Steverson explained his struggles with the old schedule and how things are getting easier for him. He started by saying, “Yes, I like the new schedule. It benefits me because I personally learn better when teachers can interact with students in person.” He then sheds some light on the downfalls and stressing factors of the old schedule: “I do not wish to go back to the old schedule. I felt like it was too much of a hassle to only go two days a week. I felt as if I was just barely hanging on, and then I’d test on Friday knowing barely enough. I feel as if the only thing the old schedule offered was massive stress. I felt like I’ve had to dive deeper into textbooks and notes now. I’ve also been having to almost “self teach” in certain classes, because there’s just so much information given some days that it’s too much and i’ve got to walk myself through it when there’s no google meets.” Steverson pointed out what many alluded to, that the schedule change to more in-person time was a necessity to the betterment of students’ academics and school life.