OP ED – COVID Protocols: Too Much or Just Enough?

OP ED - COVID Protocols: Too Much or Just Enough?

Ulysses Conrad, Junior

Upon returning to school, many guidelines have been put in place to keep students safe from COVID-19. While some of these safety measures are proven to help, like the mask-wearing policy, others appear better on paper than they actually are. One example would be the blue tape on the walls. Often students walk the halls and brush past the bright blue painter’s tape on their way to class. Few stop to think about its purpose. An astute observer might deduce that the strips of tape are 6 feet apart. Yet why are they on the walls? One day’s worth of observation shows that no students were seen to be following the tape’s recommendations while rushing from classroom to classroom. 

“I’m pretty sure they’re six feet apart,” claimed Ray Atlas, a junior, “[but] absolutely nobody follows them.”

Another questionable safety procedure are the one-way staircases. Some students might notice that they have arrows on them, but few follow these recommendations. The idea is to limit the amount of student traffic in hallways caused by staircases. But from the student point of view, having to walk even further is not merely a nuisance, it often makes one late. 

“I understand why [the guidelines] are in effect, but is it really worth me walking around the whole school just to get to class?” junior James Findikyan asked.

Still another dubious safety procedure would be the locking of one set of library doors. The library is a unique space. Representing a quiet sanctum, it is the ideal place to study and get work done during free periods. Having two entrances allows for easy student access. But with the advent of COVID-19, the administration decided to close the doors facing the rear of the school. The hope is that students won’t congest the hallway in the library. But if doors are closed, isn’t that actually concentrating foot traffic through one door? Why add to the volume of those students who are entering, when the goal is to reduce the numbers? This change is different from the rest because it doesn’t work in simulations or in PMHS. 

As humans, we are always looking for the easiest way to complete a task. While these ideas would definitely work around a conference table, students are only human. Thinking about the fastest and easiest way to get to the next class, one can easily ignore the guidelines set out by those who only wish the best for us. Some of these guidelines work, like the closing of the dreaded 8th-grade hallway, but others require more planning, like the library policy.