Administration implements new schedule

Block classes should lessen student exposure to COVID-19 once students return to campus.

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Madeline Thiara

The modified schedule allows for less interaction between students and faculty if classes are resumed on campus. The new plan features two 150 minute classes per day.

Madeline Thiara, Senior Reporter

WEB EXCLUSIVE Students are adjusting to a new schedule to limit in-person contact between community members once students return to campus.

The schedule features two 150-minute classes, five days a week running  9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and and a second class running 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

“We needed to minimize the number of interactions a student has on any given day,” Head of School Rachel Simpson said. “The schedule created cohorts that could provide both safety and containment in the case that we needed to contact trace.”

Students will take two classes per month where they cover a semester of coursework in each month of instruction. Students were initially going to return back to campus, but since San Francisco remains on the COVID-19 county watchlist, classes will remain online.

“Although teachers are being accommodating with frequent breaks and off-screen time, it is challenging for me to stay focused for two and a half hours,” junior Takouhi Asdorian said. “I know this schedule ensures safety for students and faculty, but it will be very hard to adjust.”

The Block Plan structure is utilized by many institutions such as Colorado College and Cornell College to have a more intense discovery of knowledge in a particular subject. 

“We will have to be creative in the lesson designs so students and teachers will not be in one single modality for the full class period,” Simpson said. “We are encouraging a multitude of modalities including time on the screen for instruction, discussion, or conversation and time off the screen for independent practice.”

Students have flex periods built into their schedules which originally would be used to catch up on homework and study. With the new schedule, those periods are now used for school and community life programming once students return to campus, according to an email from Simpson. 

“Since I have my flex period at home for the next month, it will be nice to have a dedicated block in the day where I can work on my college research and applications,” senior Sofia Houts said. “This period will really help me get ahead on my work.”

It is likely that co-curricular activities, like clubs, will remain online if students return to campus so there is no increased exposure among community members, according to Simpson. 

“We worked hard to create a schedule that had integrity, whether in-person or online,” Simpson said. “This is a very focused way of scheduling, teaching and learning that we think, possibly has a lot of benefit, but it’s going to take some time to get used to.”

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