Screen time modifications: New lunch band issued

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By Faiza Tasnim, Isabel Jagsaran, Daffny Cardoso, Staff Writers

The Student Union (SU) and Townsend Harris High School administration decided to issue a full lunch band (37 minutes) starting February 22 following numerous complaints and survey feedback from the student body. Previously, students had 20 minutes in between their fifth and sixth bands of the day to either eat their lunch or attend office hours.

Before the change, students reported feeling exhausted throughout the day due to an 8 band school day with only 20 minutes of break. The SU posted on Google Classroom that “students’ safety and well-being supersede any academic demand.” SU President Sharon Li said that the data from a Google form that students were encouraged to fill out about their fall semester, “was presented to the school administration at our consultative meeting where we were able to see from their perspective but also advocate for the students’ concerns.” The process began in November when students began to voice their concerns. Sharon said, “A lot of work goes into changing and making choices and finding a schedule that can accommodate everyone.” Although the SU was able to voice student concerns, Sharon said she feels that the school administration played a major role in creating this new schedule, as they were “able to find a way to compromise.” The SU “cannot take any credit for directly making the changes to the schedule itself, but rather bringing this concern to the administration’s attention,” Sharon said. 

Freshman Evan Chibisov reflected on the change and said, “The past week has been different. The classes feel the same and I have time to make myself food. Sometimes I do work but I make myself a sandwich and relax.” He added that it gives him “time to prepare for the next classes.” Junior Rakin Haq said this new schedule didn’t interfere too much with his normal routine and the information he was able to get out of his classes: “I was worried that classes might be too rushed but after seeing how little the band times were affected, I was pretty happy.” Senior Kevin Baijoo agreed and said, “I have a lot of free bands, so the schedule feels the absolute same for me.”

AP World History teacher Blayne Gelbman supported the change. “I thought it was important to give kids a visual break. It’s a lot of screen time. So changing the schedule to meet the needs and concerns of the kids is a positive,” he said. Physical Education teacher, Matt Lemanczyk, advised students to “do something other than schoolwork. Perhaps eat a nice nutrient-dense lunch, go for a walk, do some chores around the home or do something you enjoy.”

Image by Classic photographer