Students, staff adapt to new hybrid learning schedule with shorter class periods, longer gap before break for those with a zero period

Senior+Benicio+Tristan+uses+his+chromebook+on+the+tables+next+to+the+cafeteria+while+following+COVID-19+health+guidelines+on+Nov.+5+during+break%2C+which+comes+after+third+period+in+the+new+hybrid+learning+schedule.+

Aliyah Ahmad

Senior Benicio Tristan uses his chromebook on the tables next to the cafeteria while following COVID-19 health guidelines on Nov. 5 during break, which comes after third period in the new hybrid learning schedule.

Michelle Sheen

All Fullerton Joint Union High School District [FJUHSD] campuses have now implemented the new hybrid learning schedule, which was used starting Nov. 2 to accommodate in-person and distance learning.

“Overall, I like the new schedule because I like the new end time at 1:30 p.m. and shorter classes,” said senior Sarah Abitria, who is in Cohort A, the group of students who attend in-person classes on Mondays and Thursdays. 

The main differences between the current bell schedule and the modified hybrid learning schedules are zero period starting 10 minutes earlier — now beginning at 6:51 a.m. as opposed to the previous 7:01 a.m. time —  classes being three minutes shorter and student support coming after lunch instead of before, both of which will now be after sixth period.

The Fullerton Joint Union High School District implemented this hybrid learning bell schedule with changes to the start times of periods and length of classes.

Changes to the schedule were made by district officials and administrators, who discussed the different models for the hybrid learning schedule and approved of the reopening of school on Oct. 6 during an FJUHSD board meeting, principal Allen Whitten said. 

Students like Abitria consider the new schedule to be advantageous because of its shortened class periods.

“I think it’s good that the classes are short because it lessens the screen time by a little bit for the people at home,” Abitria said. 

In contrast, students who have a zero period, like junior Dane Sprague who is in Cohort C, don’t like the change in start times and wish classes wouldn’t start as early as they do now. 

“I would prefer school to not start earlier,” Sprague said. “[Although waking] up 10 minutes earlier isn’t that big of a deal, it’s kind of annoying.”

In addition to the earlier start time for zero period, the new schedule includes only one break in between the classes, coming after third period. This means that those who have a zero period must attend four classes before having their first break, although the 8-minute passing periods stay the same.

“I wish there was another break for zero period students and teachers,” said math teacher Nicole Knutson who teaches Algebra 2 honors for zero period. “Going four periods straight every day with no break is tough.”

Knutson also said using the hybrid schedule means having to get used to the new start and end times for classes, which sometimes becomes confusing for her.

Another change in the schedule is lunch and student support moving after sixth period and lunch now coming before the 30 minutes of extra help period.

I wish there was another break for zero period students and teachers — going four periods straight every day with no break is tough.”

— Nicole Knutson

By having student support come after lunch, students can eat their lunch and then join their classes for student support via Zoom, Whitten said.

“Lunch has been a concern for our community due to distancing concerns,” he said. “This model allows for less contact among students and teachers.”

However, students like Abitria aren’t very pleased with the change in lunch coming before student support instead of after like with the Wednesday distance learning schedule.

“Because I don’t have a sixth period, I would have to stay through lunch before student support,” Abitria said. “I think having [student support] before lunch would be more beneficial because when it comes after, students are less likely to go to student support since it comes after lunch.”