Administration revamps schedule for next school year


Submitted Sean Bevan

This is the semester one schedule for the 2021-2022 school year, assuming that the current COVID-19 restrictions still apply to schools.

Riya Mahanta, Assistant News Editor

With a difficult school year coming to an end, the scheduling committee held discussions to figure out the bell schedule for the next school year.

This year, the schedule changed due to the pandemic, with the addition of a fourth lunch that allowed students to eat at least six feet apart. Since regulations concerning COVID-19 have not yet changed regarding social distancing in schools, the new schedule for semester one still has four lunches, as shared in an email sent out by Principal Sean Bevan to families. The new schedule also starts at 8 a.m. due to the new start time. 

With this year’s schedule, period five was much longer than the rest of the periods because it had to fit four lunch blocks, which caused some problems.

“Period five is a super long period everyday, which isn’t great because you end up having period five classes get ahead of the other classes, and it makes it harder for teachers to plan that class period,” Bevan said. 

Although the new semester one schedule also has four lunches, period five won’t always occupy the lunch period. 

“The new schedule basically takes the fundamental features of our current schedule and rotates the five periods from three to seven over the day so that each of those periods has a long block,” Bevan said. “In an effort to keep time on learning equitably distributed, we have given one long block each to period one and period two.”

This schedule will also include one double period per day of 85 minutes and a mindful moment from 9:25 to 9:35 a.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

However, if COVID-19 restrictions are dropped by semester one or during semester one, a backup schedule will be implemented instead. This backup schedule only has three lunches, rotates the periods and doesn’t contain any doubles.

“With a semester of only three lunches, the longest a period will be is 60 minutes,” Family and Consumer Science teacher Susan Muise said.

Muise said that teachers and students have expressed a dislike for the 85-minute double periods, so while they are needed with the four-lunch schedule, they will be eliminated when the schedule contains three lunches.

“When we can have three lunches, we don’t have double periods; we just have longer blocks, ranging from 40-60 minutes,” Assistant Principal Cathleen Carmignani said.

With two schedule options for semester one, a schedule for semester two has not been finalized, although a small committee of teachers have been meeting to discuss that schedule.

“It is highly likely that the semester two schedule will have one long block per class—usually 70 minutes or more—longer class times—maybe 45-50 minutes—and rotating all or some of the blocks around,” Bevan said.

A common theme can be found between all these proposed new schedules: the rotation of periods.

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“We talked with the faculty and some of the factors they thought were important was to have some rotation in the schedule,” Carmignani said. “They wanted to see different periods for different time frames, so we tried to fit that into the schedule. With the rotations, the minutes were close to equal for every class period.”

“Students might feel more or less energized and prepared to perform well in their classes based on where their classes meet during the day,” Bevan said. “So, a rotation equitably distributes how students experience the school day.”

Muise has been on a scheduling committee for all of the six years she has worked at Algonquin, and she said that people have wanted the schedule to change for a while now.

“Now that we’re coming out of this pandemic, with this opportunity for a fresh start and a blank slate, I think that it lends us the opportunity to make a big change that people have been asking for,” Muise said. 

 Carmignani is optimistic about the new schedules. 

“We are going to analyse the new schedule to see how it works and talk to everyone about it, including students and staff,” Carmignani said. “We talked with our faculty and staff about this schedule so with their input we can hopefully ensure a good schedule.”