Column: Are Virtual Wednesdays Effective?

(Rocket News)

Madison Gafner, Student of Journalism

The Neenah Joint School District started implementing virtual Wednesdays Nov. 11. Virtual Wednesdays are a day where students have all of their classes virtually over Zoom. These Wednesdays are like a standard school day, but students can be like busy bees or like couch potatoes. All students are required to be at home during this day; teachers will remain at the school and choose to have a guided Zoom session or to have a quick check-in. The schedule allows for 55 minute class periods with a lunch break. 

Virtual Wednesdays are beneficial to students and teachers that are productive and use them efficiently. 

As of now the problem is that virtual Wednesdays will be leaving our schedules after spring break, but why should they leave if they are so incredibly effective? 

The answer is simple, they should not leave going into the fourth quarter. 

“I think virtual Wednesdays are very helpful, especially toward the end of the semester when there are big projects due. They are also helpful to students who are behind or need extra help,” Sophomore Natalie Brandt said. 

In Dec. 2015, Ely Blanche High School switched to a schedule similar to NHS. The schedule had only some of the classes Monday-Thursday and on Friday it would be a remediation day for all of their classes. Hanover Research states, “According to school officials, the student test scores have increased since the adoption of this schedule.” The grades and learning at Ely Blanche has increased because of its schedule. Learning is extremely important and this schedule is having positive effects on the students overall. Virtual Wednesdays can also possibly have positive effects on how much knowledge students are obtaining and their test scores. 

According to Seattlepi, “If the teacher does not have effective classroom management, the amount of time that the student spends learning is decreased.” Although this is true, it does not take away that there are more students and teachers working hard during these Wednesdays. If kids are not using their time in a way that is beneficial to them, that is their fault; other students should not have to suffer because they don’t get a day to work more one on one with their teachers and get some guidance if needed. 

Furthermore, Unlocking Time has done research on multiple different schedule types, including one quite similar to the one used at NHS. Their research explains, “For example, students might attend three or four block classes on Monday and Wednesday (“A” days), another three or four block classes on Tuesday & Thursday (“B” days), and attend all of their classes on Friday as shortened periods (sometimes called “skinny” days).” Records show that Luella High School in Georgia used this schedule in 2018-’19, but they had the “skinny” days on Wednesdays. Including that, they had advisory and freshman focus classes. Luella High School transitioned to this schedule and used it recently, thus proving it is an appealing, useful, and efficient schedule that would work for a school just like NHS. Unlocking Time even found it important enough to put it on its website. 

Clearly, virtual Wednesdays are not an inconvenience and are having positive effects on students and staff. For these days to stay, try to communicate with others about how beneficial they are, so they continue happening after spring break.