Before COVID-19, RHS followed the 4-3-2-1-Day schedule. Now, RHS follows the A-B-C-D-Day schedule. RHS students have the choice to follow the hybrid or all-virtual schedule. Students following the hybrid schedule are divided into two groups, one for students whose last name starts with a letter from A-K, the other for students whose last name starts with a letter from L-Z. On A and C days, A-K students come to RHS and have their classes in person for the morning periods while L-Z students would be virtual. The A-K students would then come home and have their classes virtually for the afternoon periods. On B and D days, the same would happen except the L-Z students would come to RHS in the morning and the A-K students would be virtual. There is an hour break in between the morning and afternoon classes, which is a lot compared to the 35-minute lunch we have had for many years. The abnormal hybrid schedule has taken some getting used to during this school year. This schedule has positively and negatively affected students’ and teachers’ mental health.
It is evident that the hybrid schedule has some positive effects on students’ mental health. A junior at RHS says, “the hybrid schedule is a nice change from going to school for the full day. Going to school all day can drag on, and having half of the day at school and half of the day at home allows for a nice change of scenery.” This is a positive effect on students’ mental health because it allows students to not be stuck in one place all day. Instead, they get to experience both. Another junior said, “having an hour break in between classes is a lot nicer. It gives me a lot more time to relax before my afternoon classes. It felt like there was not enough time in between classes with the other schedule.”
Despite the positive effects on mental health, the hybrid schedule has also had negative effects on the mental health of students. Another student says, “Going home and learning virtually is not the same as being in person. There is not much interaction with classmates and I cannot talk to friends that easily.” Students have also reported that they do not like being at home all day because they do not get to walk around in between classes. Instead, they are usually just sitting while waiting for the next class.
The hybrid schedule has both positives and negatives. While not everyone may like it, we are still fortunate to have it. Many Bergen County High Schools have shut down multiple times due to fluctuating positive COVID-19 cases. The fact that RHS is able to have this hybrid schedule, and that students are able to have some classes in person, is an achievement on its own and should not be taken for granted.
Graphic: Jiah Lee