Thu. Mar 4th, 2021
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After 7 weeks of the quarterly system at Notre Dame, it is important to note that while the safety measures put in place (due to COVID-19) have been effective, some students are struggling with this new schedule.

By | Nina Stofati

With the unfortunate events caused by COVID-19, schools all across British Columbia are adapting to the “new normal” in different ways. Here at Notre Dame, the administration has introduced a quarterly system intended to expose staff and students to fewer people and not overwhelm them with work in the rare event where an online system would once more be in place. Although this system has been implemented for the health and safety of the school community, it has not necessarily benefitted the academic well being and growth of certain students.

It seems like a good idea on paper to have only two courses for ten weeks but the challenges associated with this sort of schedule heavily outweigh the benefits. Personally, my main concerns are associated with content-heavy courses such as Maths and Sciences. For people such as myself who have difficulty in STEM-related subjects, sitting through two and a half hours of these courses (even with breaks) would be quite exhausting.

Another concern I have with such a schedule is the idea of learning a month’s worth of material in one week. This system is only manageable for certain courses but is otherwise quite heavy.

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Some ND students are having a hard time with the quarterly system.

An alternative that I believe would relieve some of the stress associated with the quarterly system would be a slightly different version of the linear system. This would mean that after semester two is over, the school could possibly consider implementing the four-course system once more. For the next half of the year, we would have blocks E, F, G, and H every day for an hour and a half as opposed to two, two, and a half-hour courses every day for ten weeks.

This would allow students more time to prepare for tests, ask for help on specific concepts without risking falling behind, and most importantly, it would not be as difficult to catch up on course work if a student was sick for one day given that there is a week worth of content taught in one day with the original quarterly system. 

While this quarterly system is logical given the current situation we are in, it does not quite help many of us academically, or socially. If it can be implemented safely, a linear system would be preferred, and it might actually benefit the academic growth of many students. Although we will be exposed to several more people, the risk of transmission would remain quite low.

One can conclude that the academic ramifications of this quarterly system would be far more grave than the risk of transmission or exposure within the school community. Therefore, a linear system after semester two should strongly be taken into consideration.

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27 thoughts on “Reviewing the Quarterly System at Notre Dame”
  1. I think that the quarter system can be beneficial in some ways. One way is that we only have to focus on two classes for ten weeks but it can also be bad as we learn everything we would learn in a year in 10 weeks. Personally I like having the four classes a day as we may have more classes to focus on but the work load will be less and we won’t have to learn a years worth of work in 10 weeks.

    1. Thank you for your insight on this topic!

      I totally agree with you, that yes, in some ways, the quarterly system is quite practical but it does really depend on the course. For example, I have History and Band this semester; these are both courses that I am very strong in so I’ve done quite well regardless of how it was presented to me. A four day schedule would be far more manageable for courses like math, science, and other content heavy subjects. It might also make the course itself more enjoyable since you aren’t rushing to learn everything in ten weeks. I personally would have preferred my favorite courses such as History, Social Studies and English to last the entire year rather than a very rushed ten weeks. Hopefully after the second quarter is over we can go back to the original linear schedule!

      Nina Stofati

  2. Even though going back to having four classes a day would be much better and easier than the quarter system we are currently using, I feel like having the quarter system is best for everyone’s health especially because we are going through our second wave with this virus.

    1. Thank you for sharing your opinion on my article!

      Yes, it is true that we are currently “in a pandemic.” However, we cannot put our lives on pause for the expected 12-18 months this pandemic is going to last. Throughout this quarter, we have seen that transmission in the school community has remained quite low; even Dr. Bonnie Henry stated that it is unlikely schools will be closed again because of how low the risk of transmission in schools is. There should be a balance between COVID-19 and the academic well being of students. This is why I propose we start the linear schedule after semester two, this way we’d only be in four classes everyday for twenty weeks. Of course, students can wear masks if they want to, sanitize their hands, and other precautionary measures to be safe.

      Nina Stofati

  3. I agree that the quarterly system is more safe than our regular 4 courses a day schedule, but I prefer the 4 courses rather than the quarter system, considering the 4 course system allows more time to study for tests and complete assignments. However, I think the quarterly system is the safest as of right now.

  4. I think that the quaterly is much safer then having 4 different classes with many different people in them. But when it comes to homework and studying for tests it is much harder because there is no break in between each day to catch up on missing things. But during this pandemic I think the quartely system is more safer because we are with the same people in our bubble each day and is less likely so spread the virus to others.

  5. I think that the new quarterly system at our school has its benefits and doubts. With the new quarterly system we get to reduce the risk of receiving the virus as we our put in our cohorts. However, with the quarterly system we may be put into two classes that we are weak in at the same time, which can put lots of pressure on a student. Personally, I miss having 4 classes a day where we get to interact with more people. With four classes a day we have a chance to reduce our workload at home, so we can spend more time with our families.

  6. I think that having the quarterly system is the safest plan right now considering what situation we’re in. But I would love to go back to having 4 classes as soon as this pandemic is over because the work load can get out of hand at times. I would have to agree that sitting in a class for over two hours can get exhausting and learning in the span of 10 weeks is a lot of information to comprehend.

  7. I think that having the quarterly system right now is probably much safer than having 4 different classes a day. Because we are in a current pandemic, it would be safer to limit the places students visit in school so that there is less contamination and lower chances of a student to become ill/infected. I do agree that the workload is quite a bit and can be very pressuring at some point, but for safety reasons, I think we should stick with the quarterly system for now until the pandemic is over.

  8. Thank you to everyone who left their comments on this article! I was glad to hear what everyone thinks.

    While it may seem irrational to add an extra two courses to our schedule due to covid, I think it is perfectly safe and rational to do so as long as we continue to follow the precautionary measures imposed by the school and health officers. Logically speaking, the only real “risk” is in the hallways, which is why that’s the one place where it is mandatory to wear masks.
    Dr. Bonnie Henry has stated that cohorts in secondary schools should exceed no more than 120 students. If we take the advice of our provincial health officer into consideration, that means it would be perfectly safe to implement a linear system after the second semester is over. Like I’ve stated before, there should be an even balance between covid and school.
    Because we would be exposed to more people with the linear system, additional health and safety precautions could be suggested to students and staff; that way, there is an even balance between covid and our education. However, I understand that some students would find this change concerning.

    Nina Stofati

  9. I agree that the quarterly system is the safest for all us for returning to school, however I like having 4 different classes a day because it bring us less stress and more time to study and do homework. However speaking about homework right now during the quarterly system the homework been harder to keep up and stay on track with the topic. Lastly, for safely measures and reasons the quarterly system is the safest option for us to go to school during this pandemic.

  10. I think that if after the second quarter the COVID-19 cases start improving and it’s safe for us to go back to four classes a day then that would be great because like you said it can be very difficult to keep up with our school work with the quarterly system in place. As of right now the quarterly system is probably best for everyone’s safety but hopefully we can go back to the linear system soon! I really liked this article and I think you did a very good job at explaining your points.

  11. I think that the new quarterly system helps create a safer environment for school. Although it creates a safer environment at school, at times the span of ten weeks for learning with the two hours each class can get tiring. It caused us to have 2 classes instead of 4, lessening the interactions between classmates. This also changes the workload and how you are unable slack off as you have no chance to hand it in after your quarter is completed.

  12. I strongly agree with your opionon on this and would like for this to be implented for the next half of the year. Although it is much safer the system we are currently in and is reducing the risk of getting covid, I am finding it challenging for myself as having test and homework due the next day can be very stressfull for me. Hopefully Covid is coming to an end and we will be able to switch to the linear system as I believe it it will reduce the stress levels of all students.

  13. I am not a big fan of the system that we are currently dealing with right now at school because I find it challenging to have work due the next day, and covering one months worth of work in one week. Therefore I strongly agree with your linear system idea, and I agree that it should be implemented for our E, F, G and H blocks. I believe that this linear system should definitely be implemented for the next half of the year, and it will hopefully prevent less stress on students!

  14. I think that the quarterly system is more beneficial toward our health since we are only being exposed to a small amount of people and we have less transitions with classes. With this being said, It implements other factors and challenges that us students have to face, one of them being the overload of work. This not only crams everything we are supposed to learn in a school year into 10 weeks, but it also puts lots of pressure and stress on most students especially for the more loaded classes such as math and science. With the linear system in place, it will allow students to have more time to study for tests, it will reduce the work load, it will give more time to catch up if fallen behind, and it will allow more interaction with other students. Overall, I think that it would be more beneficial for students to have the linear system (4 classes) as it has more benefits rather than challenges while still keeping a low risk for Covid 19.

  15. For me personally I have mix feeling about the quarterly system but I think this system would be better than having 4 different classes with different people in them. I think having 4 different classes would spread the virus faster and I think I would panic more because of having more homework to deal with. I agree that it is harder to catch up if you miss one day of school and it is tiring even with the breaks we have. I also have a hard time with STEM related subjects so I get that it is super tiring if I can’t understand the questions.

  16. I think that the quarterly system we are currently using is much more safer than 4 classes a day like we would usually have. Having this new system will help lessen the contact the students and teachers have with others, which also helps lessen the chance for someone to catch the virus. I do have to agree that sometimes the classes can be a little overwhelming and challenging for the students, especially when it comes to the homework and tests. Although I prefer the 4 class schedule, I think that this quarterly schedule is what’s best for everyone right now.

  17. I believe that a quarterly system can be good in the sense that we don’t have as subjects to focus on at a time. At the same time that can be the problem. This is because we are cramming one month of a subject in one week which doesn’t let us learn as much because things are too fast pace which would make it easy for students to fall behind. Although a quarterly system is safer, it would be a lot more academically beneficial if we had four different classes a day rather than just two. All in all I would rather have four subjects a day rather than two a day, but I believe that it is safer to have a quarterly system.

  18. I think the quarterly system is good because we only have to focus on two classes instead of four and only have the homework from the two classes to worry about. It is also safer then doing the linear system because we are in contact with less people and it reduces the risk of getting sick. It is hard because we are doing a year of work in only ten weeks but I like it because we only focus on those two classes for the whole ten weeks.

  19. I agree that the quarterly system has made more of a negative impact for students learning and stress levels. Having so much work in such work to complete in only a few weeks is very mentally draining and difficult. I like how Nina provided an alternative way of learning that will be more beneficial for the students learning and shorter classes will for each subject would be less hard to focus in classes as they are not being dragged out for such a long period of time. Two and a half hours for one subject every day can get extremely boring especially if it is a class you don’t excel in or enjoy. I also agree that it is difficult to catch up in class if even miss just one day.

  20. This arrticle outlines what the quarterly system is like. I have talked to many of my friends and we share the opinion that there are benefits to this way but there is also disadvantages. I have found that the quarterly system hasnt been to stressful. The workload hasn’t been overwhelming for me. With that being said I cannot forget to mention that I have talked so some kids that are finding it overwhelming, however overall it has had a positive outcome. Overall my reveiw on the quarterly system is that it is good for some people and hard for some people but with my experience it is benefital and needed to keep everyone safe.

  21. I feel that the quarterly system has its advantages and disadvantages. Having to come in contact with less people at a time is so beneficial because it gives us a lesser chance of catching Covid-19 and spreading it onto others. Another advantage is that we have less classes which means less tests to study for at a time. With the linear calendar, we will be having 4 classes a day which can be overwhelming at times due to the amount of homework we receive from every class a day. Although there are a few benefits to this quarterly system, there are some disadvantages. Having two of the same classes everyday for 2 and a half hours can be challenging at times. It can be hard to stay focused for a period of time and can be very overwhelming especially for people that are in honors classes. Mentally, the quarterly system can have a big impact on people and cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Having to worry about missing a day of school which can cause us to fall behind, rushing to meet every deadline on time and trying to understand a new lesson every day while being prepared to move on quickly are some of the things I find the most stressful. Going back to the linear system when it is safe, is a great alternative and I think is a good idea. I hope that we can go back to the linear system soon.

  22. I like the fact that we’re having the quarterly system with just 2 classes per term. Even though it’s more intense per subject, I find this less stressful than having 4 classes with more work to do. With the pandemic, the quarterly system is safer because we come in contact with less people and we’re not having to rush from class to class like we did before the pandemic, going back and forth to our lockers.

  23. Having the quarterly system is right now the better option as cases keep rising up. It does bring some stress to students as what we normally would be learning would be in a ten month span now changes to ten weeks. Lots of homework could be due the next day and could be overwhelming for some us as that’s how this quarterly system works. However, it does help us stay safe rather than having four classes each day which would mean more contact with teachers and students. I do agree that it could be very hard to stay calm during these times and also having to think about homework.Nonetheless, having two classes each quarter is what is best for now to keep us safe.

  24. I believe that the quarterly system is safest for our community. Although it can be hard on other to stay on track, it is the best course of action. We might dislike it, but I believe that at the moment we should focus more on getting through this pandemic quickly, and safely, rather than doing what we please.

  25. I believe the quarterly system is beneficial to have at this time. In order to help us from spreading Covid 19 to us or any of our family members,the distance between students helps us be safe by keeping the same people together and the others away. I know some people that get really bored sitting in the same class for awhile, but staying focused in those two classes means you do not have to worry the about other two classes you get when you have a regular schedule. If people are overwhelmed by tests the best thing to do would be to would be to review a little later after school.

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