Pre-Pandemic Class Schedule Resumes at Francis Lewis

The booming sound of the heavy, almost synchronized footsteps of students in the halls and stairwells begins this school year at 8 am. The four minute passing of time has them walking slower, and the look of anxiety of being late to class is less present on their faces.  As the day continues until 10th period, the last period of the day, the flow of students lessens until there is only a trickle of them.

Last school year, Francis Lewis implemented a 1-14 period class schedule to accommodate for COVID precautions and safety for faculty and students. Period 1 started at 7:15 am and period 14 ended at 4:48 pm, with one minute in between each class. Seniors and juniors were given an earlier class schedule while freshman and sophomores could be seen leaving their last class at the end of 14th period, which ended at 4:48 pm.

“It was more fun last year because I was ready for school and I got to study before school,” sophomore Andrea Magbag said.  “Now I have to wake up at 5 AM because I live far. The struggles are real.”

Teachers as well as students were subjected to the unique schedule last school year.

“I had a later schedule, so I would start at around 9:18 in the morning,” AP seminar and ELA teacher Ms. Genovesi said. “I would end after 13th period last year. I did have one of the later teacher schedules. This year I’m on a 2nd period schedule until 10th period, which is also the late schedule.”

“This is the schedule that we had originally used for years when I was a teacher here,” Ms. Genovesi added. “So while it is new this year, it’s not unfamiliar to me.”

In addition to the schedule change, the time between classes changed from 4 minutes to 1 minute.  This school year, Francis Lewis has resumed the 4 minute passing between classes.

“There was just a lot of anxiety about getting to class on time and kind of confusion about when class should begin because we’re always waiting on students,” Ms. Genovesi said.  “So I do see that change this year as being better than last year.  That’s the main major change I’ve seen for students and even for myself as a teacher getting from class to class.”

Because of the adjusted schedule last year, many students were not able to join and attend club meetings because they either ended school earlier with too much time in between or they were still in class when meetings were being held.

“So last year I started at 7:15 and I ended at 12:45. So I had a very short schedule last year and my clubs would usually start around 3:36 to 5:00 depending on the season,” S.O. and Model UN President Erin Jeon.

For Jeon, this schedule made her high school experience feel feasible.

“This year, I start at 8 o’clock and I finish at 1:18,” Jean said. “Although it’s kind of similar from last year, I feel as though it’s a lot easier just because clubs are able to almost start right away or after all classes end for all grades. So this year, it’s a lot more manageable and like a high school experience.”

Last year, many events were not able to occur due to the varying schedules of the students. But this year, the events, such as a larger scale and more elaborate pep rally, are slowly starting to come back.

“Last year since we had a split schedule, a lot of the grades were not in the building at the same time,” Jeon said.  “It was really hard to do a lot of school events when everyone wasn’t in the building at the same time. Last year we had our normal pep rally, but it was definitely different from what we had this year, which was a full pep rally. It was exactly how it was my freshman year.”

Another example of an event that could not take place last year due to the 1-14 period schedule was the Valentine’s Day dance. 

“Last year we didn’t have a Valentine’s Day Dance,” Jeon added. “I remember my freshman year before COVID, we had a Valentine’s Day Dance and it was after school and it was a really great experience, but we couldn’t do that last year just because of the whole split bell schedule.”

Moreover, there are varying opinions amongst teachers about the previous schedule. Ms. Genovesi is one of the teachers that preferred last year’s schedule over this year.

Ms. Genovesi states, “For me, I enjoyed the schedule last year because it gave me more time in the morning since I didn’t have to be at school till 9, around 9:18. It gave me more time to eat breakfast and it gave me more time to like exercise.”

Ms. Genovesi continued by stating how it affected her “mental health”.

“I think mental health wise, it was a lot easier for me because I could just do all the things that I’m too exhausted to do at the end of the school day, like going and exercising,” Ms. Genovesi added.  So for me, I liked it better. While I did get home later, the traffic difference isn’t that much to me.”

Lastly, this year’s schedule gave Erin important opportunities as simple as saying hi to her friends in the halls.

“Last year I wasn’t even able to see half the people I knew and the fact that I’m able to just interact with them in the halls just to say hi or like give a smile, it’s just been really nice and I just very much enjoy it,” Jeon remarked.