HHS Returns to Full-Time, In-Person Learning!


Elle Cavanaugh

Students return to HHS’s traditional bell schedule. This means students meet for six classes each day, a big change from three classes last year; however, classes are now significantly shorter. HHS students give mixed reviews of the schedule.

Elle Cavanaugh, Contributing Writer

This September, with COVID-19 somewhat under control (due to vaccinations and masks), students all over the nation have been returning to full-time, in-person learning. After Zoom classes, hybrid learning, and condensed schedules, Hingham High has reverted to its traditional schedule for the 2021-2022 school year. The biggest change of all seems to be the switch back to more, yet shorter, classes each school day. Many have found comfort with the transition while others continue to struggle with the change.

Several upperclassmen reported that they have been enjoying the return to the old schedule. Senior Matt Hall explained, “I’d say it’s definitely refreshing to be back to normal after such a different year we had with COVID. Although classes felt long the first week, being back in a regular flow was a return to normalcy I sought for over a year.”

Senior Dominic Kanter commented, “It’s nice to be back in a normal school setting, and it’s a great step back to as normal of a life as we know.” He continued that though “the shorter classes are nice,” he misses the longer mask break periods that students had grown accustomed to last year, especially in the warm weather. With the current schedule, students can utilize the much shorter mask break of six minutes between the second and third blocks.

Senior Tyler O’Connor and junior Mia Hill appreciate the shorter classes because they accommodate students’ attention spans better. O’Connor explained, “I love having shorter classes and find I can focus faster in the shorter blocks. Not having to use my computer for every class has been extremely refreshing as well.” Hull added, “It is definitely much better because it was hard to actually learn anything in school when the classes were that long.”

Senior Jack Libby confessed, “In my opinion, everything that could have been taught in a 90-minute class could also be taught in a 50-minute class, therefore the classes don’t feel as drawn out as from what we have recently adjusted to.” On the other hand, senior Brian O’Dell remarked “A lot of my classes feel very rushed because many teachers are still adapting to the changes. This year is going to require a lot of patience from parents, students, and teachers.”

While many students enjoy the shorter classes, others struggle with the additional workload that comes along with them. Last year, students endured longer class periods (up to 85 minutes,) but students only met for three classes a day. Because of this, many teachers assigned homework that would give students typically two days to complete. With six classes meeting each day, students have up to six courses of homework to complete each night. Students like senior Meryl Goodwin have been experiencing “shock” because of this.

 She admitted, “The workload feels so large compared to last year, my homework time has doubled. I also just feel generally out of practice. It’s like I’ve forgotten how to manage my time and complete school work in an efficient manner.” Others have also been having trouble balancing all the work with everything else. Junior Whitley Thompson feels that “both school work, social life, and sports is not an achievable task.”

Goodwin and Thompson are not the only ones. HHS students have not had normal workloads since March of 2020, and even with summer break, students are still describing themselves as feeling stressed with the regular schedule. Hull added that with “Being put abruptly back into the longer days and having five classes a day, I find myself overwhelmed and anxious because of the amount of work.” Sophomore Chase Boles agrees that she feels “overwhelmed” and “tired,” but she believes that the schedule “in the long run, will only help the way I learn.”

This may be true, and for this year’s freshmen, switching into the high school after a year of hybrid learning has proven to be “new and different” as freshman Tommy Parker words it. He explained, “The transition from middle school to high school would be hard normally, but the thing that’s strange about freshman year, at least for me, is that I can’t tell if the summer gap increased or decreased these feelings.” 

And, since Hingham Middle School operates on a completely different schedule, this is also the first year for current sophomores to test HHS’s traditional schedule. Sophomore Brendan Burm admits, “The schedule is good, and I like dropping classes.” Returning to the “dropping” schedule can vaguely remind students of last year’s schedule. 

Overall, the common consensus is that people prefer the regular schedule. Hall added, “The normal schedule is just another step towards a normal life after COVID, and it’s something I’ve definitely enjoyed so far.” Libby pointed out, “It’s really difficult to hate the return to school.”

Senior Devon Moriarty described the return as “pure serotonin.” She loves “being around people and just feeling like one school again” and is “just so happy to be back.” Senior Anthony Longo jokingly confessed, “I have liked the return to the normal schedule because it means I can see Brian O’Dell and Jack Kelleher every morning in calculus.” Libby agrees, pointing out that having “everyone present all at once is one of the major benefits of school for me.” Thompson refers to the current routine as “rewarding” since she can see her friends and “make better connections with teachers.” 

Junior Freyia Tennebo admitted, “I love doing small things that we used to take for granted like eating lunch with my friends because it gives me a sense of normalcy and helps me look forward to the rest of the year.” Thompson agreed, “I feel like the time away made me appreciate the things about school that I didn’t realize I missed before.”

The return to the traditional schedule has brought mixed reviews, but we suggest trying to appreciate these “small things” as Tennebo and Thompson point out. To make the best of this year, junior Jacob Yates reminds us, “There is beauty in change, there is beauty in sacrifice, and there is pride in it too… Always remember that you are responsible for your greatest accomplishments and only you can decide your future.” Enjoy your school year!