It’s been a total of ten weeks since the start of in-person school at Berkeley High School (BHS). But in the second week of school, students and teachers began to notice that something was wrong with the bells.
For the past nine weeks, the bells in the G and H building have been broken. This has impacted students and teachers alike, creating annoyances for all who have classes in these buildings, and adding extra disruptions that harm learning.
“When they wanted to do the announcements, there was clearly some sort of interference here in the G building, at least. Shortly after that, the bells stopped working,” said Aaron Glimme, who teaches chemistry in the G building.
Some students say that the lack of bells has led to many annoyances during the school day. Benjamin Dernburg, a freshman, said, “It’s pretty annoying. They’re either completely off, so we are kept late, or they just don’t work.”
Many say that the broken bells have made their passing periods shorter than is often necessary. Tyler Kim, a sophomore in Berkeley International High School (BIHS) said, “Some teachers have been letting us out a lot later than they should, and then my teachers for the next class are still expecting us to be on time, which complicates things.”
The lack of time for passing periods is unfortunate for students, who often need ample time to travel the expansive BHS campus. This might lead to an increase in tardiness.
Teachers, on the other hand, have mixed opinions on whether the lack of bells negatively impacts them. Some say the effects of the bell outages had been minimal. “You do have to keep track of what time it is, and make sure that kids are in class when they need to be … but that’s just good teaching!” said Glimme.
Diane Kung, an English teacher in the Academy of Medicine and Public Service (AMPS), said, “I don’t think that this has affected my [classes in general] very much. I think that my kids are very well aware of when that time [to leave] is.”
Some teachers, however, including BIHS English teacher Karl Kaku, see the lack of bells as disruptive. “Everyone needs to start class at the same time and end class at the same time,” he said.
Although there does not appear to be a widespread sentiment of annoyance among staff members, students do find the lack of bells to be often annoying. This issue is certainly deserving of attention from school administrators, who say that they have been working to fix it.
Berkeley High School Principal Juan Raygoza said, “Once we started coming back this summer, we turned the regular bells back on and started noticing that they were operational in some areas and not others. Our district and site facilities staff have been working diligently to figure out what is going on.”
Although work is being done to restore the bells, many teachers say that they have adjusted to school without them.
Kung said of the issue, “It’s been such a long time that we just expect that there will be no bells.”
According to Kaku, “order on campus begins with everyone being on the same schedule.”