by Tori Newby ‘22
In the new virtual world, MCPS has graced teachers and students with extended breaks between classes and a 75-minute lunch period, in hopes of helping to maintain mental health in spite of the stress that accompanies a changing environment. This “wellness break” in the middle of the day is allotted so students can spend time outside, get some exercise, make lunch, etc. to improve their social-emotional well-being. This 75-minute lunch block is over half the time Sherwood students had during a regular school day, where there were only 35 minutes to eat lunch, see teachers, and go to club meetings. It is refreshing to see that MCPS is concerned about students’ mental health now, but students were struggling pre-pandemic, too.
A regular class during in-person instruction is 47 minutes. To make up a test during lunch, for example, 35 minutes is just not enough time. Then, students miss any club meetings that day, skip out on lunch with friends, and eat during classes or not at all. When regular school returns, going back to a day where students have to rush around during lunch is not appealing. Sherwood should continue their sympathy for students’ mental health and allot more time for lunch: taking just two minutes off of each class would make lunch 5o minutes, which may be just enough for students to have time to relax a little during the one break they have in the school day.