By: Nathan Kuczmarski ‘22
After more than a decade of scrutinizing over 55 different bell schedules, Saint Ignatius administrators are in the final stages of implementing a new bell schedule for the 2021-22 school year.
According to Principal Dr. Anthony Fior, the coronavirus pandemic has created a unique opening to institute this change. “We can’t waste the good opportunity that this crisis provides,” says Fior. “Our faculty and our students are way more flexible and amenable than we thought they were before.” Given this flexibility, Fior sees this as the ideal moment to “rip the band-aid off and jump in two feet first into this pool of change.”
Despite an official schedule not yet being released to the public, Fior confirmed some aspects of the upcoming schedule. One of the biggest changes is that individual classes will be longer and will not meet every day. That being said, Fior insists that the new schedule is still not a block schedule. “Let me be crystal clear: we are not going to a block schedule.” He explained that no formerly year-long classes would be condensed into a single semester.
Several of the other changes confirmed by Dr. Fior were said to be adopted with the student experience in mind. One alteration that should be welcome news to bleary-eyed commuters is that a later start time is “likely” to be implemented. Additionally, rotating class periods will ensure that no student gets stuck in the same period at the same time of the day every day.
One of Fior’s favorite features of the plan was that “there’s great time in the schedule for clubs to meet and students to meet” during the school day. He followed up by saying that going forward, “the excuse of ‘our bell schedules don’t line up,’ or ‘I’ve got to catch a ride’, or ‘I’ve got practice’ will be eliminated” as an obstacle to participating in on-campus activities.
The last big change that Fior addressed was that there will be a common lunch period for all students during the day.
Since March of 2020, the Ignatius schedule has changed three times. First, in the spring last year, all classes were pushed online as lockdowns grasped the nation. During the first few months of the 2020-21 school year, students and teachers were then thrown into a new schedule in which students attended campus for an alternating hybrid schedule in which students alternated between on-campus learning in either the morning or afternoon depending on the day. But as internal cases of the coronavirus rose, Ignatius was yet again forced to adapt to a new schedule–one in which students spent 5 hours a day in Zoom classes, 4 days each week.
Now the school is placed on hold as it waits for the specifics of its 4th schedule change since the start of the pandemic. The only indication from Fior of when this information will be divulged was given in one word: “soon.”