Controversy Surrounds Virtual-Learning Schedule Changes

Zach McGrath, Staff Writer

The day before students went on winter break, Anne Arundel County Public Schools announced that there would be significant changes to virtual schooling taking effect on January 11th. The newly proposed schedule will have a noticeably shorter lunch block of one hour and twenty minutes, fewer club blocks, a five-minute increase in class time, the drastic reduction of flex time, the creation of twenty-minute “small group” times, and a new ending time of 3:15pm. 

The proposed schedule changes have generated a lot of controversy, specifically within the AACPS student body. The student body was so unsatisfied that a petition was made to protest these changes. At the time of writing this the petition had approximately 6,500 signatures. In response to the controversy, Student Member of the Board Drake Smith held a town hall meeting on January 5th to hear student opinions on the matter. Ninety students were in attendance. Many students, such as Aidann Bacolodan from Broadneck High School, voiced concerns about the possibility that the schedule will increase student and teacher stress. Other students voiced support for the schedule change by citing the increase in instruction time and the benefits it would provide. 

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Students at Severna Park High School have not been silent in the matter. Sophomores Andrew Omer and Austin Anderson disagree with the schedule changes. Andrew stated he was concerned, “mostly with clubs and a shorter lunch period, while Austin felt that time could be used more efficiently. While many agree with the sentiments of Andrew and Austin, their opinions are far from unanimous. Sophomores Grant Talbert and James Fallon both voiced support for the schedule changes and stressed the increase in instruction time. “The new schedule will be beneficial for both students and teachers by increasing the amount of instruction time,” Grant said. While there is a point of contention between the two groups, both agree that if the schedule was to be remade it should have more student, teacher, and parent input. 

While at the time of writing this it appears as though the new schedule will be put in effect on Jan. 11, you can still voice your opinion on the issue by signing the petition mentioned earlier, contacting the members of the board of education via their emails found on the AACPS website, and/or emailing the Student Member of the Board Drake Smith at [email protected]