Hershey Adapts to New Hybrid Block Schedule

Molly Ziesenheim, Reporter

Hershey School District has implemented a new hybrid block schedule for the 2020-2021 school year.

The district converted to a block schedule, lengthening the class duration to 88 minutes. Students attend in-person school twice a week depending on their last name. A-K students attend Monday and Thursday, L-Z and virtual students attend Tuesday and Friday. The goal is to create a safe learning environment during Coronavirus. With this schedule, students will be able to limit the time in school, while being able to spend enough time with each class.

Maddy Williams, a sophomore at Hershey High School has been enjoying the new schedule. “What I like about hybrid is the opportunity to be in school in person,” Williams said, “It is really important for me, and I know a lot of other people to have an in person connection when learning.” Williams believes having an in-person connection with each class is more beneficial than being fully virtual. 

Other students dislike it and believe it takes away from their learning experience. “I strongly dislike the fact that I only have class once a week and office hours for 45 minutes per week. That small amount of time is not enough for me to learn my classes’ content, especially for my AP class,” said Alicia Xie, a sophomore at Hershey High School.

Xie said that the limited class instruction interferes with the ability to grasp a full understanding of the class material. Xie said if she could improve the current schedule, “I would keep our current A-K/L-Z grouping, but get rid of the block scheduling. Additionally, I would extend each subject’s office hours.” Xie believes the office hours, used to ask questions, does not allow enough time. 

Teachers have a different perspective.

Dr. Angela Grabuloff, a Social Studies teacher at Hershey High School, said, “I believe, when you have a block schedule, you can truly make learning much more deep and valuable.” Grabuloff believes the longer periods allow for a more in depth instruction. With more instructional time, students are able to grasp a better understanding of the material.

Regarding the new policies/conditions, Miriam Collins, a Social Studies teacher at Hershey High School, said, “Honestly, I think that regarding the policies we have here at HHS, I would not change anything. I think the stringent mask policies, hand-washing, social distancing policies – I think they are really really important to keeping us all safe.”

In addition to those policies, Grabuloff believes there should be mandatory temperature checks at school. This would create a stricter policy to better ensure students aren’t coming in sick.

With many different opinions about the new scheduling, for now it looks like it’s here to stay. If you have any suggestions, use your voice and reach out to those in charge to create an environment best for you.