By — Joey Hudson
Starting the next semester, LCPS is planning on implementing some changes to the current schedule. Before, students were given a one hour lunch after 2nd block and were also given a new part to the schedule that wasn’t part of any schedule before this school year known as Learning Lab. During Learning Lab, students were given the option to stay after class in case they needed any assistance from the teacher or could use the time as a break away from class and the computer screen for a couple of minutes. Now, with the plan of the new schedule, lunches are going to be shortened to just 28 minutes and will be going back to the regular A, B, C, and D lunches that were used during in-person school.
Learning Lab will also be taken out of the schedule and classes will now fill the time Learning Lab took up prior. As a result of these announcements, LCPS students created a petition in order to stop the changes from being implemented and keeping the current schedule.
The petition, created by LCPS student, Caroline Dailey, who started the petition in hopes of keeping the current schedule with the signatures of 7,500 people. At this time, the petition has 7,388 signatures, making it 112 signatures away from it’s goal. Under the petition, Dailey writes, “The students of Loudoun County, especially the senior class of 2021, are requesting that the LCPS administration does not move forward with the newly proposed second semester schedule.” In regards to lunch and Learning Lab, Dailey continues with, “Students around the county are struggling with motivation to join classes and complete assignments, and adding on class time leaves students with less time for wellness breaks. Some students use their breaks to socialize, catch up on sleep, complete extra assignments, study, or do other activities that will help improve their mental health.”
Dailey also takes into consideration older siblings who have to take care of their younger siblings during these extra breaks from school. Dailey also writes how the new schedule will also affect teachers, saying that it adds more stress and responsibilities onto teachers.
Many students and parents expressed their support for Dailey’s petition. One user wrote, “I understand how teachers may feel that the original distance schedule is not long enough for the students to learn anything. However, in a year where change is constantly defining and redefining every moment of our lives, I believe we should maintain the current schedule as king as there are distance learning students.” Another user, who has a son, wrote, “My son is struggling enough with the way it is, don’t make it even harder on them.”
Many other users expressed their frustration with LCPS under the comments, one user staying that, “I am sick and tired of LCPS not asking the student how they feel about the situation. We are already all mentally drained, we don’t have much left in it and this just makes it worse and harder for all of us. A lot of us have families and jobs and extracurricular things to take care of. This new rule makes it hard and draining.” Another parent wrote, “My son is already online ENTIRELY too long for any sane person to consider required (or even rational) for productive learning. ANYTHING that increases the amount of time online deserves to be rejected at this point until we can see some evidence that it could help their educational outcomes.”
This isn’t the first time LCPS students have rallied behind a petition. In October, user Carlos Z created a petition demanding for the workload to be reduced. That petition received 14,892 total signatures. The petition received so much recognition that the LCPS school district addressed the issue and implemented less work for students, however many students still seem to be struggling from the amount of work.
Currently, the new schedule is still going to be used, however, if this petition receives enough signatures and recognition like the first petition, then maybe the LCPS school district will reconsider going through with the new schedule like they previously did with the first petition. The petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/loudoun-county-public-schools-return-to-original-lcps-distance-learning-schedule