ANALYSIS: Students like block scheduling but dislike one-way hallways and closed campus


Covid remains and school has begun. Ames High has so far made it through one semester of school and has recently transitioned into either 100% online or 100% in person schooling. This huge growth in numbers made it difficult to run the school efficiently and safely without an overwhelming amount of change. There have been minor changes throughout the school including the inclusions of one way hallways, and four days a week of block periods. The teachers however also had to deal with these new conditions, and it hasn’t all been perfect.

When it comes to student opinion, 141 students took a survey created by The WEB about block schedules, one-direction hallways, parking lot changes, and workload differences. It must be kept in mind that these responses could be coming from a certain type of people who are willing to take an optional survey, and therefore think and respond in similar ways. In other words, it was not perfectly random.

Starting with block periods, which due to the amount of cleaning that each teacher must perform between classes most likely can’t change. 73% of students were satisfied with this schedule and understand its implementation. However, there are worries about focus during these drawn out classes and the busywork teachers are assigning to fill it in. Overall throughout this change nothing can be done but allow teachers to discover better ways to handle their extended class periods without wasting time or overwhelming students. As one person surveyed put it, “I feel like teachers aren’t getting through all the material, and if they are it’s not taught to the full extent. This is simply due to the fact that most high school students can’t focus for a full 90 minutes.”

The one direction hallways are a much bigger dispute, with positive opportunities for change and many student suggestions. There is also a chance the one direction hallways are directing everybody into the same areas, and making them walk longer though these areas, even extending their possibility for exposure to covid. 85% of students were unsatisfied and even disliked the way it has been set up. According to Dr. Nyberg: “We understood that what we wanted to do was not have a lot of crossing of students because of the contact tracing.” It also must be known emails pertaining to contact tracing recite it as “optional.”

Open campus has been closed and this has been caused by the constant block scheduling. It “has been communicated several times,” that periods 1 and 8 are possible to leave whereas technically all other study halls are meant to be done in school. When we rarely have 8 period days, that becomes an issue with 7th and 2nd period study halls. Moreover, there have not been many instances where leaving during one of these study halls is documented and punished for. The end of open campus is largely unknown in reasoning.

Mask policy enforcement has become a prevalent issue mostly during class time, and considering that wearing masks has become the most important value to keeping students safe, there is no reason to continue allowing students to sit in class with their masks under their chins. Principal Nyberg said: “We are talking about that as a building leadership team. . . . We need to be very tight about that.” Although Nyberg has said there are limitations to what she can do, and it’s up to the teachers from there, there has been no visible difference in how the situation is being handled within classes.

With a new principal who was pushed into a difficult year, teachers who complain about grading work they assigned, and students who have to do that work with now limited social interactions, a surveyed student puts it well: “Everyone’s exhausted.”