Editorial: Google Meet should have a lasting role in morning extracurriculars

Editorial Board

At the close of last school year, students were thrilled by the removal of many pandemic-era measures that had been implemented.  Indeed, the day when hybrid learning was replaced by all-in was a happy one, and most everyone was excited to shake off the constraints of learning from home.  There is one COVID-19 “ism”, though, that should remain in place long after the pandemic is over: the use of Google Meet in certain morning extracurriculars.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, high school students ages 13-18 require eight to ten  hours of sleep per day; the CDC reports more than 70% of high schoolers nationwide do not get enough sleep on school nights.  Schreiber students are no strangers to this statistical exhaustion, and, historically, early-morning extracurriculars only add to the schoolwide fatigue.  Students often had to wake up even earlier than usual in order to rush out the door to various clubs and honors society meetings, which usually lasted for just 15 or 20  minutes.

During the pandemic, these organizations were forced to gather via Google Meet rather than in person.  Naturally, the format made it difficult for participant-driven clubs to run smoothly, but it also allowed students to tune into meetings from their breakfast tables and cars.  In addition, many morning extracurriculars simply feature a teacher advisor sharing announcements and discussing logistical items, so, unlike with other, more involved activities — think sports or arts — it did not matter whether students were in person for these meetings so long as they were attentive.  More importantly, for students who walk or drive to school, the ability to listen in on a Meet provided freedom and an extra 15  or 20  minutes of sleep, minutes that could reduce the high risks for “many health and behavior problems” that arise when adolescents are overtired, per the CDC.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic is thoroughly behind us, keeping some morning extracurricular meetings virtual will not only be convenient, but also beneficial to the health of Schreiber’s student body.  There is no avoiding the occasional late night or early morning, but when a chance to support students’ well-beings presents itself, it must be taken.  Schreiber can do just that by permanently relegating certain morning extracurriculars to Google Meet, a quick and easy fix that will do nothing but good for its student body.