The 2020 school year has certainly looked different than years past, but will school ever return to what it was like before the coronavirus pandemic?

Some experts say no.

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Many possible visions of what the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 might look like for students and teachers include schools operating at a smaller capacity when it comes to how many students are in one room at one time.

A possible solution being floated is the idea of half-time high school.

According educational researcher Michael J. Petrilli, "The only way for schools to maintain social distance in crowded buildings is to operate well below capacity. He told Bloomberg News, "This may mean running two shifts a day, morning and afternoon, or asking kids to show up in person every other day. If we don’t want kids to learn half as much, that means continuing with online learning — and lots more independent study — while at home."

He argues that high school should be more like college, where students with a typical full-time course load spend only 15 hours a week in a classroom setting, with the remainder of their time being used independently on projects and research.

A modified school schedule could solve two problems -- the one where we want less students in a building at any one given time, but the other big problem -- the traditional high school day may not be what's biologically best for teenagers.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Once adolescents reach high school, they need eight to 10 hours of sleep for healthy development.2 On average, high school teens report sleeping nine hours on week nights and considerably more on weekends (11 hours and 16 minutes)."

Knowing teens need so much sleep, could a half-day high school schedule be best for all aspects of their physical health?


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