Constant Change:

DHS experienced three schedule changes this school year

Nylene Gutierrez and Evelyn Gutierrez

Due to COVID-19,  students and teachers have experienced many changes within the last year. About halfway through the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year, all schools were quarantined requiring all students to do distance learning to finish off that school year. While teachers had to quickly learn how to use the technology in order to continue to teach the students. 

The start of the 2020-2021 school year at DHS, let students physically come to school, however, everyone had to wear masks and the students were split in half to go every other day. The first half would go on Green Days while the second half would go on White Days and each half would swap on Fridays. While one half was at school, the other half was at home doing distance learning by being on Google Meets or just by doing work that their teachers assigned. Students slowly started adapting to this hybrid schedule and once they finally did, it got changed to a whole different schedule after the first quarter. 

This schedule let all students come to school everyday besides Fridays when they would do distance learning for half the day. While students were at school, they had to wear masks everywhere they went besides lunch or if they were outside. All the teachers also enforced a seating chart for safety precautions in case someone tested positive for COVID-19. If that happened, teachers would just quarantine the students sitting by that student since they were exposed to the virus. At this point, those students would just do distance learning until they could come back to school. 

This schedule lasted up until students came back from Christmas break, which is when the school district  introduced a whole new schedule. This time this schedule consisted of another class hour added to students’ schedule along with going to school Monday through Friday and staying in school longer. “The time schedule for our current schedule, 53 minute classes and 43 minute lunches, is required for us to reclaim student contact time lost while on our transition schedule in the second quarter. The Colorado Department of Education requires schools to have 1,080 hours of student classroom contact. The current schedule allows us to meet this requirement,” said Derek Carlson.

The reason for all these schedule changes within just this year is because of the school’s response to the pandemic. The school district thought that the hybrid learning schedule was a good way for teachers and students to improve and adapt to distance learning especially after many students struggled to do so during March to May of 2020 when everyone was doing distance learning over quarantine. Plus, the district thought that reducing the daily enrollment to 50% for the first quarter would reduce the amount of kids being exposed.

The second quarter schedule was used to prepare students and teachers  for the regular five-days-a-week schedule. The half day Fridays used for distance learning was also a way for students and teachers to be prepared if they got quarantined or if there was another school closure.  Also, the longer three day weekend provided time away from larger groups that could potentially expose students to COVID-19.  And, teachers regained time to plan and prep on their Friday afternoons. 

This current schedule was DHS’s goal from the very beginning of the year, because the school feels that in person learning fulltime is the best way to learn. Carlson said, “Personally I feel great about our schedule as it brings some normalcy back to all of us. Mask wearing helps greatly by mitigating exposure risk and quarantine requirements, if we have a positive case in attendance at school.”

Shawna Magtutu, one of Delta High School’s counselors said, “I like being back to seven periods because our teachers can have plan time. . . adding a new class helps with graduation because when you drop it down to six you’re down a credit to graduate. So I feel like it helps everyone have that padding back to get closer to that graduation requirement, especially if they end up failing a class between now and their senior year. So that padding always helps a little.”

Magtutu also states how COVID-19 is a time where everyone is going through constant change and having to be flexible at times simply because these changes are out of our control. These changes are being done to try and make sure that everyone stays safe during this difficult time where we don’t know what’s going to happen next. She also states how high school students can adapt easier than elementary students with all these changes, but it is difficult with the idea of wanting school to be back to normal when we go through these constant changes.

With the new 2021-2022 semester schedule, teachers and students have been trying to readjust to yet another change in this school year. Alissa Branson, one of Delta High School’s English teachers, says that it’s frustrating to have so many different schedules, and worries about not being able to social distance within her class periods and having another massive quarantine. 

Branson also said, “School years have a rhythm, and we have not yet actually gotten into the swing of  the school year; everything just feels off. Also my pacing of the curriculum and instruction is not where it needs to be, I am a bit behind where I should be at this point of the year. If COVID-19 and schedule changes have helped me be more flexible, I am struggling with that.” But overall, Branson states that she is glad to be back on a 7 day period schedule because our school is a lot more normal than what other schools are going through.