Editorial: Keep asynchronous Mondays

Editorial Board

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Weekly Word: Each week, the Lasso Editorial Board will comment on an issue that is relevant to the students of GMHS. We strive to present a student-oriented opinion about topics big and small that matter to the student body.

Last Friday, FCCPS Superintendent Dr. Peter Noonan unveiled a goal to shift from a hybrid learning model to full time school at the start of fourth quarter, after Spring Break. He hasn’t provided details, but this plan could mean the end of asynchronous Mondays.

Since the start of hybrid learning, asynchronous Mondays have provided a desperately needed breather to students and teachers alike. For students, they serve as “catch-up days,” allowing students to complete late and long-term assignments. Asynchronous days also allow teachers to plan for the simultaneous online and in-person instruction they are expected to prepare. 

We strongly urge Dr. Noonan to keep asynchronous Mondays through the rest of the 2020-21 academic year. They are a necessity to students and teachers as we all navigate the ongoing pandemic.

High school during a pandemic is stressful—we spend too much time on screens, have limited ways to spend time with friends, and we are expected to navigate a once-in-a-century public health emergency on top of the normal stresses of being a teenager. 

For students, asynchronous days provide an extra day to engage in learning that does not involve Schoology conferences. Hybrid learning is an adjustment and many students rely on an additional day away from BigBlueButton to get more work done.

Additionally, having a designated time to do work on Mondays allows us to further relax during the weekends. During this chaotic time, we all need breaks. Asynchronous days build in time for this.

On top of that, students who are participating in school entirely online rely even more on asynchronous days. Since hybrid learning began, 84 minute class blocks led to more screen time. With no asynchronous days and five days per week of instruction, virtual students would have to spend an additional seven hours per week staring at BigBlueButton.

Mason students are involved in an array of clubs and other student activities. With half the students in the buildings and half at home most days, many have utilized asynchronous Mondays to meet virtually. Taking away asynchronous days would take away some of the time dedicated for social interaction that many students cherish.

Asynchronous days also provide critical planning time for teachers as they prepare to teach two different groups of students at once. Stripping away asynchronous days could take away necessary planning time. With rushed planning, students may not receive the same level of instruction. 

The pandemic has taken away all sorts of consistency. We’ve had to adjust and readjust and readjust more to a constantly changing world. Everyone wants as much in-person instruction as possible—but getting rid of days that allow everyone to recharge and prepare for the demands of the week ahead will hurt, not benefit, students and teachers alike. After Spring Break, there will be only eight Mondays left in the school year. Keep asynchronous days for the rest of this unprecedented year.