By Jadyn Cicerchia
Covid has been a rough time for all of us, and seeing as we are hopefully, (very slowly), coming to the end, I’m sure everyone is anxious to get back to their lives. We can see that the school system is also itching to get back, as they have just made the sudden decision to take away asynchronous Mondays. This was a day when all the students stayed home and the teachers would not have to meet with us live unless we wanted to. We just got some work and had our own schedule for the day. In the rush to get everyone back into school, asynchronous Mondays have now been turned into a synchronous day where some of us are in school and some of us are on the computer, but this time we have to join Google Meet. This decision has caused quite an uproar, and I personally think that this concern is completely valid. Taking away asynchronous Mondays is not only detrimental to the mental health of the students, but it might possibly be the worst first step to take in our journey out of the pandemic. In light of my and many other students’ concerns, I am going to be doing what we were taught to do, write an essay! I just kindly ask that any adults refrain from rolling their eyes as I present my evidence.
We will ease into this a little bit. Before I discuss why it should not have been taken away at all, I will explain why this specific new setup is frankly a complete mess. With asynchronous Mondays, every week we were switching on and off in accordance with our two days schedule, which includes A days and B days. For an unknown reason, our new synchronous Mondays are seven periods long, as opposed to the normal four periods. Meaning that we have to meet with every single class. I will first point out the fact that having classes this short is completely ineffective and in my opinion, a waste of time. With my experience so far with synchronous Mondays, we were unable to actually accomplish anything in class because the second we got there it felt like our time was up. And when time runs out in the classroom, that doesn’t mean we finish it up the next day, it means we have to do it for homework. So now instead of our normal 4 to 6 hours of homework from our four classes, we have double the amount to finish due to lack of time, and we are doing homework for seven classes. So I would just like to say that if you are truly believe that we should have synchronous Mondays, maybe consider at least changing the seven-period schedule. It has been stressful and unnecessary to teachers and students alike.
I would next like to address that there has been a constant concern for the fact that students are in front of their computers the entire day because we have to be on Google Meet. So, we can probably all agree that adding another day where we are all stuck in front of the computer was not the best idea. Asynchronous Mondays were created to give us a break from the constant computer screens and the stress of the pandemic. So may I just ask, if we are still not back in school full-time, what exactly was the point of taking this day away? I would love to go back into school full-time and see all my friends, but seeing as though that is not the situation, all this is doing is taking away the one day of the week that most of us could actually leave our rooms or look outside. I personally felt like my opinion went unheard when the desicion was made to make Mondays synchronous.
Now, I do not want to make this awkward and ruin this lovely friendship you and I have going on here, so I will say, in a lot of situations, it is perfectly reasonable for the students to not be involved in decision making. However, I feel that most schools in America struggle with how to deal with student’s mental health. Yes, including you EG. So, as a part of the generation that has been the most open and accepting with mental illness, when we have a petition with a thousand comments detailing exactly why and how taking away Mondays is seriously dangerous for the mental state of the students, it hurts to think adults wouldn’t listen. This might just be one area we know a bit more about, and I think this is a decision we should have been involved in. We are drowning and showed you where the life preserver is, but it didn’t change anything. Truly, the students are not trying to have some weird uprising, we are not trying to trick you, we are just tired. When we wake up at 6 am, go to school for 6 hours, then have 4-7 hours of homework to deal with, and we are expected to go to club meetings and sports, we get tired. Asynchronous Monday was a day that we got to breathe for a second because we did not even get a break on the weekends. The homework just follows us there too! I would also like to point out the fact that it is not just a break, or a “day off” like some people think it is. We are still doing schoolwork, and it was a really good time to be able to meet with teachers one on one, when we previously had little time to do so.
Now that you hopefully understand what the problem is, I am going to propose an idea. Since most of the student body thinks that asynchronous Mondays were so beneficial, we should maybe attempt to include them into post-pandemic school. I know that for at least myself and a lot of my friends, the setup we had at the end of last year, at the beginning of the pandemic (which was basically an asynchronous day every single day), was just so much better. However, I would also like to not take away the fact that a lot of people were very much struggling during this time, so that is why I’m proposing maybe just one day. The spring of 2020 was probably the first time I had actually taken care of myself in three years. We got up, did some work for maybe six hours or less, around the same time we would be in school, but then after that, we were done. We had not known what a free afternoon felt like for so long. I was able to go for walks, workout, do things I enjoy like painting, learn new skills, actually sleep, all while still attending school and learning. So I believe that this was almost an important experience. Because it showed a lot of us how the school system needs to change. We were perfectly capable of learning everything we needed to learn without being given hours upon hours of homework every afternoon and every weekend. This is how it should be, we learn while we are in school, and then we get to actually enjoy our lives when we come home. Even just incorporating one day of this would make everyone a little bit happier. So before I ramble on for too much longer I’m going to wrap it up. Thank you for listening, seriously, just sitting down and hearing us out even for 5 minutes is a huge step.
See you next time!