Second semester brings schedule changes and new rules


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As 2021 begins so does second semester. At Hinsdale Central there have been many changes in relation to the schedule and Zoom protocol.

The beginning of 2021 and second semester bring new schedule changes and Zoom regulations. These changes include bringing  50% of students back into school, assigning lunch periods, and mandating the use of cameras on Zoom at all times.

After the Board of Education meeting on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, the administration shared various information regarding the amount of students who are going back to school in person versus remotely. It was shared that 55.4% of students are hybrid, 33.8% of students are starting remote with the option of shifting to hybrid, and 10.8% of students are remote for the rest of the school year. In addition, instead of having four different in-person cohort groups (A, B,C, and D), there are now just two cohorts (A and B). 

“I am currently remote because I wanted to wait and see how the increased number of students each day played out,” said Susie Melkus, senior. “I hope to return to hybrid as soon as possible.”

In addition to updated cohorts, there is now the option to eat during a 30 minute lunch period at school. Students who are hybrid participate in lunch in person once per week and students at home get to enjoy lunch at home. If a student doesn’t feel comfortable eating at school they can fill out an accommodation form and spend lunch and the rest of the day at home. Although I’m not experiencing lunch at school, I know friends who say it flows smoothly and the adult supervisors are taking it very seriously in order to keep students safe.

“I like the added lunch period,” said John Malec, junior. “It provides me with a nice break during the day and I also like to get homework done during lunch.”

There are also new Zoom expectations for students to abide by. The one of most note is that cameras must be on for the entire class period. Similar to the lunch accommodation, students have the option to opt-out of this requirement by filling out the camera accommodation form. While some students say this distracts them from focusing on the teacher, others believe that it helps students stay engaged. 

“[Teachers can] support students in minimizing anxiety/stress/fatigue due to Zoom usage by having some camera-off/camera-optional times during class,” said Virginia Pitts, Director of University Teaching at the University of Denver.

Pictured is what a typical classroom looks like during the pandemic. Desks are distanced six feet apart in order to maintain social distancing and at Hinsdale Central, students are seated in every other chair. (Courtesy of

Finally, classes are now ten minutes longer, lasting for 75 minutes instead of 65. Breakout rooms and five minute breaks help to split up the lectures and encourage communication with peers. For more information you can look closer at the official class schedule

“The lengthened class periods are definitely a struggle,” Melkus said. “It’s hard to look at a computer screen for so long while still paying attention but some of my teachers have implemented a 5 minute break into the period which is helpful.”

While there have been some changes to the way school flows during second semester, everything is relatively similar to how it was first semester. If you’re struggling with the new schedule or Zoom requirements, don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher. Good luck and have a great second semester!