Shortened study hall times have major effects on student grades and mental health


Hannah Silber

Students study in the library at San Domenico High School.

Hannah Silber, Reporter

In the 2022-2023 school year, San Domenico made massive changes to the school’s weekly schedule. These changes sparked controversy amongst the SD community. One of the main impacts to the schedule is the shortened study hall. In the 2021-2022 school year, we had an hour and 30 minutes of study hall on Tuesday and then 45 minutes on Thursday. This year, we only have one 45 minute study hall on Tuesday with the occasional 20 minute block on Wednesdays.

Shortened study halls have shown to have massive effects on students, both on their focus and ability to get work done. Many San Domenico students have extracurriculars outside of school, whether it is sports, theater, work or something else and they can’t devote all their after school time to doing homework. This is what makes study hall periods so important.  A research project conducted by graduate students at Saint Xavier University indicates that homework is the number one cause of stress in students around the country. These stress factors can cause negative effects on students mental health. 

The massive change in time to get homework done during school hours has increased the pressure and stress levels of students immensely. It also doesn’t help that we now have every class four days a week, which means an increased homework load. Students also share the struggle of getting-individual meeting times with teachers because they now have so little time. 

“I don’t think that the study hall time that we have right now is long enough,” Caroline Pirsch, a junior at San Domenico said. “When we have the 40 minute study halls, I don’t have the time to even start to become productive because it takes me a while to get into the right headspace,” Caroline added. “I think it’s necessary for the school to provide more study hall time because a lot of students rely on them to get work done during school when they have extracurriculars.” 

Along with these issues, it is also extremely hard for students with extra time accommodations. I had an extra time last year, and I was able to finish tests during the study hall block, but this year I usually do not have enough time and end up having to take my tests either during PERK or after school.The learning resources and small class sizes are a huge reason why students with accommodations chose to attend San Domenico, and if we are not accommodating them, their grades may suffer by not giving them enough time to complete their assignments. 

The Panther Press poll on our Instagram story asked students if they felt that study hall time this year was long enough and beneficial. 75% said no, 6% said yes and 19% said sometimes. This shows how many students think that study hall time is insufficient and that more needs to be added. 

One of the main reasons that teachers and administrators support the shortened study halls is because some students show lack of focus during study hall time and spend their time either on their phone or socializing. This is understandable; however, it is still extremely unfair for the students who do their work during study hall and use that time efficiently. It is also okay for students to sometimes sleep or sit on their phones during study hall. There are some days where students don’t have that much homework and maybe want to relax during study hall. School is very tiring for most people, so I think that students taking that time to practice self care is fine as long as they’re quiet and not disturbing anyone else. 

It is essential for the administration to understand the amount of homework that students are given each day and how valuable study hall is to getting this work done. Since it is so far into the school year, changing around the entire schedule isn’t ideal. For now, I think that we should take the Wednesday and Tuesday assembly time and turn that into study hall time. That way no class time will be missed and assembly announcements can be done during homeroom. Although it would be nice to change around the schedule to make study halls longer, it may be unrealistic to make such a change this school year. Hopefully, the administration will rethink the schedule for next year and make study halls longer.