Why we should bring back asynchronous Mondays


Design via Megan Young

The mostly virtual school year of 2020-2021 was certainly an unusual one for South Lakes students. Along with the stress and uncertainty that the Covid-19 pandemic caused, the virtual school year presented plenty of its own challenges. Many students found it hard to keep up with lessons in a virtual format and felt disconnected from their peers. However, there was one new addition that brightened the bleak landscape of virtual learning: asynchronous Mondays.

Asynchronous Mondays were days that were still technically part of the school week, but allowed students to work on assignments without a formal bell schedule. This day was an opportunity for students to catch up on missing work, ask teachers for help during their office hours, and review for upcoming assessments. For students tired of the structure of virtual learning, these Mondays provided an opportunity to pursue their academic interests and studies on their own time.

South Lakes sophomore Fiona Santiago relayed her perspective on the benefits of asynchronous Mondays, “I definitely had a lot of homework to do last year and having a day to [work on homework] helped so I didn’t have to do everything after classes or in classes and be scared that I would miss a deadline,” she explained. “There was also a lot of free time to meet with teachers to get help and retake tests.”

Students’ anxieties were relieved through these asynchronous days. For the majority of the school year, teachers were discouraged from assigning new work on Mondays, giving students more time to catch up and ask for help, as many students were struggling with virtual learning.

South Lakes business teacher Mr. Moorehead commented, “I had a lot of students who would come into my office hours who wanted extra help, who just didn’t understand something, or they had a question about something. It was really  great to connect with those students and not be constricted to [the time we had] in the classroom.” He continued: “We had a little more time to explain, just give them a little more one-on-one help and guidance and feedback on everything that they were doing.” 

Graphic via CDC

These days also offered some unique opportunities for students. A benefit of virtual learning was that many students were able to sleep in. According to Johns Hopkins University, teenagers experience a shift in their circadian rhythm that makes it harder for them to go to bed earlier. Without the need to get ready in the morning or catch a bus, students could just hop onto BBCU and begin the school day, extending their time to rest. Similarly, on asynchronous Mondays, if students didn’t feel the need to attend a teacher’s office hours, they could use the morning to catch up on missed sleep. 

In addition, students improved upon their virtual communication skills during asynchronous Mondays. If students missed office hours or had additional questions later on in the day they could send their teachers an email. Email etiquette is a necessary skill to develop, especially as students prepare to enter a workforce that is firmly in the digital age.

Asynchronous Mondays weren’t just filled with benefits for students, however. These days also reduced the amount of stress placed on teachers: “I thought asynchronous Mondays helped teachers and students get a day to prepare for the week and get caught up from the week before without added stress,” South Lakes chemistry teacher Ms. Mulaparti said. “It helped me plan ahead and create new material and be on top of grading.”

A return of asynchronous Mondays could greatly benefit the South Lakes community. As the year progresses and students begin to feel burned out, these days could give students a welcome respite. 

“[Asynchronous Mondays] could really benefit the students since we have so much going on all the time and everyone is so stressed all the time. It would be nice to have a break sometimes.” student Katie Wang remarked.

Asynchronous Mondays would also give teachers more time to plan lessons and grade student assignments, reducing the stress and responsibilities placed on them since the return to in-person school. 

We already have the blueprint for how asynchronous Mondays would work from last year, the question now is if student’s would be willing to take advantage of these days again.