Will There Be a Nine Period Day or a Required Lunch?


Photo by Sarah Terletsky

Will students be required to take a lunch next year?

There has been a lot of debate recently among students and teachers about the possibility of a nine-period day and a required lunch period, but what does that mean for Patchogue Medford High School’s students? What’s the reasoning behind these schedule changes, and are they actually going to happen?

According to Dr. Rusielewicz, the Board of Education “has been looking at a nine-period day for six or seven years,” and “has been getting closer every year.” Having an extra period provides students with an opportunity to explore some of the various electives that our school offers or rekindle an old passion that they were forced to sacrifice for more essential classes. Plus, an additional time slot allows classes that normally run during the same period to space out throughout the day. This prevents students from being forced to choose between two conflicting classes. A new period would also provide teachers and staff with spare time during the day to attend training meetings rather than constantly staying after school. However, adding a ninth period can be complicated due to budgeting issues. Dr. Rusielewicz expressed that “a nine-period day requires more money for additional staff, whether it’s for a study hall or a class.”

As for the possibility of a required lunch period, a much more controversial issue that Dr. Rusielewicz says the Board of Education “has been looking at for a year and a half,” the main concern is the students’ wellbeing. Dr. Rusielewicz explained that “many students are trying to raise their GPA with extra AP classes,” in order to raise their status in an extremely competitive and stressful ranking system and “it has become a social emotional issue among students.” Having overwhelming schedules can lead students to experience frequent “burnout” and be damaging to their mental health. Although the Board of Education has discussed adjusting the ranking system so that it is less of a burden on students, they still believe that it would be extremely beneficial to force students to take a break whether it’s in the cafeteria, the library, or the courtyard to recover from a stressful day.

Unfortunately, it is too early for the Board of Education to decide on either of these schedule changes. Dr. Rusielewicz says “we just don’t know yet,” and we will have to “wait until budget season when the vote is more definitive.” Even though that is most likely not the answer that concerned students and teachers were looking for, it’s important to note that none of these adjustments have been solidified. Stay tuned for more information after the Board of Education has had time to discuss the schedule alterations.