As we all know, the schedule has changed ever since Belmont Hill went hybrid in the fall. Instead of having three “normal” class days and two long block days every week, the current schedule has three long block classes every day except for one virtual class day (which has transitioned to entirely in person) in which all classes meet for just 40 minutes.
We wholeheartedly believe that the new model is considerably superior to the old five classes per day schedule. The first benefit of the new model primarily rests with the reasoning behind the new block schedule. Since there are only three classes each day in contrast to 5 classes, there is less movement between classes, which reduces the risk of exposure between students in different classes. Obviously, most people would prefer to walk as little as possible between classes. Schoolwork takes a toll, and constantly walking across the campus certainly proves to be a tiring endeavor.
Another advantage to the new schedule is the amount of homework each night. Due to classes only meeting three rather than four times a week, and since classes meet every other day, there is significantly less homework each night. As many students transition into higher-level courses, the amount of homework per class exponentially increases. Moreover, with extracurriculars and sports, homework can pose a significant challenge in time management. However, the new schedule allows students to have more room to complete their homework each day.
Furthermore, the 75-minute blocks allow for much more time in the classroom. Many argued that the long blocks were too tiring at the beginning of the year and went far too long. However, since it has become the norm, these longer blocks do not feel nearly as bad. Although the long blocks can be a pain, each in-person class’s extra class time offers additional time to rush less and dive deeper into the topics. Compared to last year, the number of times where the bell has abruptly stopped teaching is far less.
Moreover, the remote Wednesday is another pro of the new block schedule. For many students, these days offer an excellent time for a relaxed mid-week day. Getting the extra hour of sleep and having a more relaxed and laid-back day has been very beneficial in getting through the week. Unfortunately, the school has transitioned to entirely in-person classes on Wednesdays. These in-person Wednesdays have been rushed and not well thought out. With the addition of study halls and classes in the Jordan Athletic Center, students are now forced to make multiple trips a day. When they arrive late to classes, these already shorter blocks become far more limited. The day is also longer, far more exhausting, and rushes constantly. Over Zoom, this schedule is more low-key and a relaxing day where students can touch base in each of their classes while in the comfort of their homes.
As the year has progressed, opinions of the new block schedule have varied considerably. When comparing the pros and cons, it ultimately comes down to the norm and basic logistics. With those in mind, as long as COVID is staying around the long block schedule with a Wednesday zoom is evidently the best option.