Coat conundrum at Walsh Jesuit

Because+of+the+pandemic+and+the+need+to+keep+campus+as+safe+as+possible%2C+school+administrators+have+revisited+student+locker+policies+for+the+year.++

Adriana Barni

Because of the pandemic and the need to keep campus as safe as possible, school administrators have revisited student locker policies for the year.

Adriana Barni, Staff Writer

Since classes started on August 31, students have not had access to lockers and had to carry all their belongings from class to class due to Covid-19.  As of October 26, Walsh Jesuit allows students to use lockers to store coats and other winter gear throughout the day.  The catch, though: students could only go to the lockers at the beginning and the end of the day and not in between classes.

This confused senior Lexie Erdmann.  “To me, it’s pointless to not have locker procedures set up normally this year,” she said. “If we have the policy partially, what difference does it make to have lockers go back to normal?”

Even with such bafflement on the new policy, Lexie was grateful she had the option to store her winter gear.  She had begun getting frantic that she would not be able to wear a winter coat to school without keeping it on throughout the day.

“I plan on using my locker,” Lexie said.  “I am always cold, so I can now walk in and out of school with my winter coat on.”

Some staff and faculty are worried about the new coat policy.  With so many kids leaving school due to quarantine, they wondered if absences would increase with the use of lockers.

Mr. Chris Stoffle, a math teacher, said,  “The new winter policy is going to be a difficult process to manage.”

Mr. Stoffle and other staff members were curious how students would maintain social distancing protocols when accessing their lockers.

“We as teachers have not been told what to do,” Mr. Stoffle added.  “I am going to assume first period teachers will be monitoring halls.”

Sophomore Ava Speel wondered if the use of staggering dismissal at the end of the day would be a smart decision for maintaining social distancing protocols. However, she is worried that following such a schedule could affect the time students leave school.

“I already get worried with making it on time to my swim practice after school with all of the traffic,” Ava said.  “If we go in waves, I am scared it will create even more traffic and make me late to practice.”

Like Lexie, Ava questioned why the new policy strictly limited locker usage.  The lockers must be used for coats only.

“If I can put my coat in my locker, why can’t I put my chemistry book in there, too?” Ava asked.

Andrew Gormley, junior baseball player, feared that the new locker policy would affect the use of the baseball locker room, the “cage,” this upcoming season.

Seniors stand at lockers and adapt to new policies about using them for coats and other items. (Adrian Barni )

“If we don’t get to use the cage this year, I will be upset,” Gormley said.  “That is where our team bonds before practices and games.”

The administration decided that books and lunch boxes should not be kept in lockers to help prevent large groups gathering throughout the day.

“Alphabetizing lockers and limiting only winter coats in lockers relieves group opportunities as much as possible,” Mr. Rardin, Dean of Students, said.  “I think it is in everyone’s best interest to allow [locker use], but we have other policies for books and athletic bags this year that do not involve lockers.”

If students misused lockers, they would be given an initial warning.  But if the infractions continue, they would be given a detention.

“We will be patient with warnings,” said Mr. Rardin. “Patience is how we have been dealing with the new policies this year.”