Is the new outdoor Advisory really necessary?

Anna Deaver, Staff Writer

Outside Advisory has been one of the biggest changes at John Carroll since last spring, but as we move further along in the school year, it has become uncertain if the change was a good one. Is it really worth sacrificing time to sit and relax or do schoolwork to stand outside without masks on? Why do we even have outside Advisory in the first place?

COVID-19 impacted our school hard, and the administration did the best they could to navigate the world of masks, social distancing, and quarantine. Even going back to school, they had to make the decision to continue with masks. To help give us a mask break, Advisory was extended from 10 to 20 minutes and moved outside, so we could take off our masks.
Personally, I liked the old Advisory. It was a time to take a breather, quietly do any work we had, prepare for our next classes, and talk with some friends. You could print things, meet with teachers, or go to the I/T office if you had a technology issue.
Now, we have to go outside — no choice. You cannot do your schoolwork, organize your locker, or, even in some cases, sit down. Advisories are all spread out, and maybe the people in the bleachers or out in front of the school enjoy the time outside, but the people in the parking lots and behind the school are choosing to sit on often-wet ground or stand for 20 minutes every day. The mask break is nice; there is no denying that taking off the mask and breathing in fresh air is nice, but is it really worth sacrificing valuable time? 20 minutes is a little bit much, especially if you have nothing to do. Some advisories do not have the space to bring or play games, and everyone ends up standing on their phones, maybe talking if they have something to talk about. Even in the Advisories with space for games, not everyone can play at once, and many end up sitting or standing for 20 minutes because they are not allowed to be in the school building.
The students are not the only ones affected either. Teachers who could previously use the time to prepare for their next classes now have to leave their desks to go stand outside for 20 minutes.
Most teachers have back-to-back classes, and used to use Advisory time to prepare for their lessons, use the bathroom, or organize the last class’s papers. Counselors could meet with their students if their schedules permitted. Staff members could plan and continue doing their jobs while keeping an eye on their Advisories. Now, they are not able to do any of it.
The system in place now is not the only option. It would be easier to have Advisories go outside every other day, so only half the students were out at a time and could all be in better spots, places where they would be able to work if they wanted to.
A longer meeting time is nice, but a 20-minute indoor Advisory or a 10-minute outdoor Advisory would both be better for everyone than a 20-minute outdoor Advisory. The outside system has advantages, but does the benefit of taking off a mask really outweigh the time that both teachers and students use to prepare themselves for the remainder of the school day?