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Academic Classes at 8 a.m. on Thursdays Does Not Solve Lateness Problem: Let’s Bring Back Tefillah

“I still remember frantically running around the sixth floor for ten minutes,” said an anonymous sophomore. “I was so scared and confused as to why no one was in my tefillah room, only to pick up my phone and see that the Chem group chat had texted pictures of a purple flame. I missed the whole start of the lab, all because of this new policy.”

As a new semester begins, both students and teachers have voiced various opinions on the policy that switched Period 1 with tefillah every Thursday morning. Whether it be a lack of focus so early in the morning, the risk of missing significant academic classes, or interfering with the holy environment of tefillah, a vast majority of students and teachers are unhappy.

Sophomore Simon Arenson agreed, saying “It’s awful, tefillah should be first.” 

Junior Elana Farbairz said, “I think it’s really disorienting.” 

Science teacher and 11th-grade Dean Naomi Bergman expressed her thoughts as someone who teaches a Period 1 class on Thursdays. 

Bergman said, “I am not a big fan of teaching at 8 a.m.. Students are used to a culture of starting their day with tefillah, and are often confused and late to class or not ready to really lock into learning chemistry at 8 a.m..” 

Despite the many negative reviews, a few students don’t mind the change. 

Sophomore Libe Wartski said, “I used to like it because it made the day feel shorter.” 

Sophomore Caleb Creizman said, “I’m a fan. I’m a minority.” 

The number of strong and conflicting opinions reflects the reason this change was made in the first place. 

In an interview, Assistant Head Anne Cohen said that “class before tefillah on Thursday is an experiment to see if the change would [have an] effect on student punctuality.”

It turns out that the schedule change does not work. The Student Affairs council did some work to try and fix the lateness policy, but the average number of lates stayed consistent. In fact, from September to December, the highest number of lates were on Fridays, and tied for the second-to-most lates was Thursdays and Mondays! Therefore, people are just as late to school on Thursdays as any other day, only students are now missing important academic classes. 

Overall, period 1 classes on Thursdays are an ineffective solution to the lack of student punctuality and have ultimately caused more harm than good. Since the change has caused so much confusion for both faculty and students, it should be reverted and tefillah should be first on Thursdays. 

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