Electives adjust to Z-block cancellation

Due to COVID-19, Z-block, the elective block usually held before school at 7:30 was canceled for the 2020-2021 school year. With its cancelation, many students have had to chose between taking an elective they love or using that block for another class. Above, members of Camerata Choir, a course previously offered during Z-block, perform outdoors.

Contributed by BHS Music Department

Due to COVID-19, Z-block, the elective block usually held before school at 7:30 was canceled for the 2020-2021 school year. With its cancelation, many students have had to chose between taking an elective they love or using that block for another class. Above, members of Camerata Choir, a course previously offered during Z-block, perform outdoors.

In previous years, performing arts students often needed to wake up at 6:30 a.m. for Z-block. Despite the impossible-sounding wake-up time, students were willing to make that sacrifice in order to pursue their favorite electives on top of a full course load. This year, online learning has thrown a wrench in that plan.

Students and faculty used Z-block for performing arts classes that met outside of a typical high school schedule. During remote learning, many performing arts students have had to drop classes like orchestra, band and Camerata Choir, which typically met during Z-block. The teachers running these classes have also had to adapt to this shift.

During remote learning, Orchestra conductor Nina Bishop has moved rehearsals and practices to blocks within the school schedule.

“We do have many students enrolled in the groups which run in A, E and F-blocks,” Bishop said. “Unfortunately, it has meant that some students could not participate in orchestra because their schedules were full and no longer have Z-block.”

Many performing arts students have been affected by this change, including senior Jacqueline Gu, who took orchestra during Z-block last year and is unable to take it this year.

Gu said she is unable to understand the administration’s motivations for removing Z-block from the school schedule.

“The administration didn’t give details as to why they took away Z-block, other than it made the schedule easier. The only real advantage would be I don’t have to wake up early for Z-block anymore. Other than that, I don’t think it had any advantages. But in the context of a full remote setting, I think Z-block would have been pretty easy to implement,” Gu said.

However, as difficult as it was for students and faculty to adjust to this change, Bishop said that the administration had its reasons for removing Z-block.

“I don’t think it was an easy decision for administrators. They want to be sure everyone gets the classes they need, and they had concerns about people playing music so early in the day,” Bishop said. “I’m sure some students are happy about not waking up so early, and I think consolidating the schedule may have been helpful.”

This change in schedule has not only affected instrumental classes. junior Lilia Burtonpatel planned to join Camerata, but she was unable to take the class because of problems regarding the new hybrid schedule.

Burtonpatel takes French 4 Advanced, which only meets during A-block, the same block that Camerata now takes place in.

Burtonpatel said she was disappointed that she was unable to join due to scheduling conflicts, but that not everyone would be able to make the Z-block time for Camerata during the pandemic.

“I was very disappointed because I was looking forward to doing Camerata for a very long time, and then they decided not to meet before or after school. I wasn’t as disappointed as I was in other years because I got in this time, but the fact that I couldn’t was disappointing,” Burtonpatel said. “I was definitely willing to get up earlier, but I know everyone wouldn’t be on that same page and it wouldn’t be an easy thing. I understand the reason.”