Shortened School Day Needs to Stay

Lily Heddinghaus, Staff Writer

It is strange to think about how we lived before COVID-19 forced humanity to change. 

Most of the changes were negative: no concerts, isolation and online schooling. The list goes on. But one positive change is the new school schedule. 

Prior to the pandemic, EHS students attended school from 7:20 a.m. to 1:50 p.m.—a dreadful six hours and 30 minutes each day—and had a 30 minute lunch period before or after their fourth hour class. 

There were four lunch periods with approximately 500 students assigned to each. Everyone would pack into the cafeteria, eight to 10 students per table, and scarf down less-than-satisfactory packed lunches before hustling back to class. 

If you imagine eating lunch in the monkey exhibit at the zoo, you would be spot on. There were daily fist fights, spitballs, spills, sharing of finger foods with unwashed hands and other disgusting situations that are 100% likely to cause a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Obviously, when students returned to school after lockdown, the administration had to cut lunch from the school day. The new schedule had students in the building from 7:20 to 11:50 a.m. This is a far less excruciating four and a half hours, and students get to go home and eat in a much more sanitary location. 

The home-cooked lunches aren’t the only plus to the new schedule. Classes are shortened to 40 minutes as opposed to 50, and although teachers initially panicked about trimming down their lessons, I think it’s safe to say that every student is a fan. High schoolers have the world’s shortest attention spans, so they tune-out and daydream after listening to a teacher talk about microbiology for 10 minutes, let alone 50. Students are much more likely to learn if the lecture is short and sweet. 

And being dismissed from school before noon is a dream come true. Teenagers juggle extracurriculars, sports, part-time jobs, social lives and homework, and they are somehow supposed to find time to eat and sleep before school the next day. Having the entire afternoon for these responsibilities just might leave enough time for self-care or other hobbies. 

Lengthy lectures. Unsanitary lunches. Late dismissals. There really isn’t one good reason to go back to the original school schedule. The shortened school day is a COVID-19 safety precaution that actually benefits the students.