[Opinion] Five minutes between class periods is not long enough for students or teachers

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Checking watches has become a common occurrence as students and teachers are constantly running against the clock with only 5 minutes between classes. Graphic by Makayla Jesionowski

Ryan Shimony, Assistant managing editor

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, schools across the globe have shifted to virtual learning to start the 2020-2021 school year. In an effort to maintain social distancing and comply with CDC guidelines, students are completing schoolwork through sites like Canvas and meeting on video platforms, such as Zoom and Teams.  At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, online classes start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3:10 in the afternoon with a lunch break from 11:35 a.m. to 12:05 p.m., and a 5-minute break between each period.

Students and teachers must join the scheduled meeting for their class period through Microsoft Teams. Even Study Hall requires the students to log in to a meeting to prove they are present before they can log off to do their other classwork. After each 90-minute class period, students and teachers only have five minutes to get ready for their next class. 

During the 5 minute breaks, students barely have enough time to log off their class, use the restroom and log into their next class. Some teachers may run over their allotted time period, making the students late for their next period. This short rest time does not allow students enough time away from their screen, much less time to do some physical activity after sitting in the same area for over an hour.  

According to All About Vision, sitting in front of a screen all day can have adverse effects on the student’s growing mind. Some kids are on their computer for 9 plus hours a day when you count in a full school day, club meetings hosted online and doing homework. Students risk developing computer vision syndrome, unhealthy posture and nearsightedness.

On the regular, an in-person day of high school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teachers and kids have 8 minutes between each period. This gives both teachers and students a chance to prepare for their next class, socialize with peers and give their mind and body a little break.

During the 5 minute breaks on virtual school, teachers spend most of their time logging out of the meeting and creating a new one. As a result, teachers are staring at a screen all day too. 

Students should have more time in between classes because their physical and mental health is the most important thing, especially during the current state of the world. Even though the school day would be slightly longer, students will have more time to relax, leading to fewer health risks in the future. The Health and Safety Executive believes that after every 50 to 60 minutes, people should take a 5 to 10-minute break.

When the amount of time between each class period is increased, teachers and students could do more than just school each day. When there are more breaks between each period, people are less likely to have health risks.