Opinion: New DL schedule frustrates students

Ashley Sauls, Staff Writer

As we know, DHS has made many changes to the way in which students have been learning since the start of the school year. With countless changes to classes and schedules, the district is doing their best to adapt considering these unprecedented times.

However, many students, including myself, have not been huge fans of the changes being made, specifically the changes to the Distance Learning schedule. These changes include moving the start of the school day from 8:00 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. and increasing the class duration by 20 minutes. Classes went from being 55 minutes to 75 minutes. 

I understand that the original intention of the schedule change was to ensure that the Distance Learning students and Hybrid Learning students stayed on the same schedule for synchronous learning. However, since we are not making the shift to Hybrid Learning, and we will not be until January (at the earliest), I feel the schedule change was unnecessary. 

The biggest issue with the new class schedule is the increased class time. Although the change may seem small with only an extra 20 minutes being added to instruction time, when you are home, actually sitting through these classes, it makes a huge difference. Especially for those who had a difficult time with online learning from the beginning. 

Although with in-person classes, students would have been in school for the same amount of time, the difference lies in the overall environment that they are working in. With in-person learning, students are able to come to an environment that is equipped to help them learn with all the resources available to help them succeed. There is also the social aspect that comes with school that a lot of people overlook as well. Working with your fellow classmates and teachers is a very crucial part of the learning experience.

Many students already struggled through the hour of class time, with the distractions of being home such as other family members, pets, or even just being in an unfit work environment, making it difficult for them to focus. Increasing the class time just makes focusing even more difficult because now students are required to focus for a longer period of time.

On top of that, many students have also found that the increased amount of screentime, due to the class extension, has had an impact on their health.

Countless research has been done over the past few years regarding the negative effects of extensive screen-time, such as eye strain, headaches, and overall stress on the brain. Back and neck pain is also something students are experiencing due to being hunched over at a desk while working on their devices for hours at a time. 

“We have to wake up at 7 a.m. and sit in front of a computer for 5-6 hours straight,” said Senior Nuha Meelar. “That affects my back, my eyes, my head, and just my overall health, which in turn affects my school performance.”

Between the increased inability to focus during class, and the negative health impacts, due to the increase in screen time, this change in the schedule has done more harm than good when it comes to students’ overall learning. 

Although the Danbury Public School District is doing their best to adapt the Distance Learning model in a way that will not hinder learning, it is important to consider how the changes being made will ultimately affect the students.