Ever since the start of the pandemic, distance learning has proved to be the safest option to continue the school year effectively. However, this is now putting students and teachers in a position where they have to sit in front of a screen for a prolonged period of time. From the strain that computers put on our eyes to the aching that sitting in a chair for hours can do to our body, many people decided that there needed to be a solution that would properly address this problem while still allowing everyone to get the best out of distance learning. The solution that ERHS came to after the advocacy from parents, teachers and students was the new “wellness break” in the middle of the school day.
After the return from winter break, ERHS implemented a “wellness break” into the schedule in order for people to have time away from the screens. This is the result of both students and adults advocating for a break since there was way too much screen time, about seven hours, throughout the entire school day. This would be longer if someone were participating in a club or an after school activity that occurred virtually.
It has been almost a month since the wellness breaks have been a part of the schedule and I wanted to see how students at ERHS feel about them. Is it necessary or is it just wasting time that could be dedicated to class time? Could there have been alternative solutions to the problem of too much screen time or is the wellness break the best way to reduce screen time?
Junior, Norah Frances, says that “it is well implemented into the schedule because each class has an equal amount of time and each person still has the same lunch”. On the opposite side, senior, Divine Arewe says that “honestly I would have preferred a shortened school day”…. “I’d prefer a shorter school day because after school I feel that there’s more flexibility in what I can do and when.”
Students were also asked how they spend their free time during the wellness break and senior, Jacquelyn Gomez says that “I usually either nap, eat lunch, watch a show or play a game during this time”. Junior Nangah Abongwa, had a similar response as she said that “I usually sleep most of the time but sometimes I take time to get my work done”.
As a senior in ERHS, I do think that wellness breaks have been a good idea, especially if you have fourth or fifth period lunch. This extra time in the middle of the day has given me the opportunity to be more productive in my classes later in the day since I would be less strained. Wellness breaks allow me to have some time to eat a snack or just relax and take a nap. No matter how someone spends that time, there is a bit of relief to being able to have a pause in continuously learning for seven hours. This time also gives students who do not have lunch the opportunity to take a break or do something of their choice for a little time in the day. For those that do have lunch, sometimes lunch time is just not enough of a break from the screens.
Students so far do like the new wellness break and are taking advantage of this time to get some extra time to sleep, get homework done or just relax. I feel as though it so far has had an overall positive impact on ERHS students.