By Jane Hanna
Many students on campus take advantage of having a zero period class in their schedule, which allows them to start school a little earlier than the rest of the students in order to also get out earlier. Others are required to enroll in these classes due to their programs or extracurricular activities. Although this schedule is beneficial in many ways, it has one major drawback: gap period.
Every Tuesday, the school has a late start bell schedule to accommodate teacher’s professional development and department meetings. First period begins at 9:21 a.m. on Tuesdays rather than 8:30 a.m. For students with zero periods, however, this is not the case.
Zero period maintains its start time at 7:25 a.m. When class ends at 8:12 a.m. on Tuesdays, this leaves students with a 55 minute “gap” period between their zero and first periods. During this period the school requires students to stay on campus.
“It’s very time consuming. You’re just sitting there not doing anything for an hour. I could be going to get food or go back home or even sit in my car instead of sitting out in the cold,” senior Gaby Martinez said.
While the school offers some gap period activities and indoor locations for students to wait, most students find themselves sitting outside waiting for first period.
“Sometimes I wish I could leave during the gap period because it makes me feel so unproductive. I have PE during zero period so I don’t like eating before school, but I wish I could leave during the gap and go get something to eat,” sophomore Mark Tanyous said.
While the gap period would provide ample time to catch up on homework or work on extracurriculars, unfortunately, gap period is often distracting with students sitting around talking and it can be challenging to get work done.
“I like that I am able to catch up on work, however I wish I was able to catch up on work in a different environment. I feel like I’m a lot more distracted when I’m in the school environment, because I want to socialize with my friends who are also stuck there,” senior Lelah Shapiro said.
One suggestion that the school should consider is allowing seniors to sign up for a leave pass, similar to the lunch passes they are already able to receive. If students have passing grades on their transcripts, they should be able to leave during the gap and come back in time for first period to begin, just like they already do for lunch.
“I had a zero period last year but didn’t sign up this year because I didn’t want to deal with sitting in school during gap. But honestly if they allowed us to get passes like we can during lunch, I definitely would’ve taken a zero period and left school earlier,” senior Gustavo Arrendondo said.