Ryann Daugherty

The directions of traffic flow in the school hallways. One-way hallways were introduced in order to create a healthier environment for students.

Walk this way

TRL’s Margo Friloux and Layla Healey give their take on one way hallways in the school

September 22, 2020

The district has given students the option to return to campuses for in-person learning. Each campus has put new safety measures in place to create a healthy, socially-distanced environment including one-way hallways. TRL’s Margo Friloux shares her opinion on why the newly structured hallways are beneficial, and Layla Healey explains how they can be problematic.

One way or no way

The school has introduced one-way hallways in order to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions. Although there have been some complaints about the difficulties of the one-way hallways, they provide a safer environment, give students more time to reach out to teachers and allow for a more relaxed passing period. 

Hallways have been set up with one-way directional signs. The downstairs hallways traffic flows toward D hall, while the upstairs hallways flow to B hall. Once the bell rings for the passing period, half of the students in every class are allowed to leave for their next class. The remaining half of students leave seven minutes into the 15 minute passing period. This means students are less likely to encounter face-to-face interactions because of the reduced amount of people in the hallways and the one-way flow of students, which helps reduce the spread of germs. 

Students barely experience head-on contact with others with the set up of one-way hallways. In previous years, hallways have always been congested with students practically on top of each other trying to get to class. The idea of one-way hallways produces more space between students and provides a more socially distanced environment.

Because getting to class with the one-way hallway system in place takes longer, the school has allowed a 15 minute passing period instead of the previous five minute passing periods. Once students adapt to their routine and find the best route to get to their next class, students will have a good seven to eight minutes of downtime in between periods. With the extra time allotted, students have extra time to stop by a teacher’s classroom to ask a question or pick up an assignment. Or, students can simply use that time to take a break and prepare for their classes.

With school being on an A and B day schedule, reaching out to a teacher can prove to be slightly more difficult since students don’t attend all classes everyday. Since students only see certain teachers twice or three times a week, they have less face-to-face interaction with them and have to resort to email or Zoom for any questions, which provide a much more delayed response than simply asking a question in person. 

Students are also used to the feeling of being rushed to get to class, go to the restroom, get water or talk to their teachers during the normal five minute passing period. The added 10minutes gives students time to follow the one-way rules and satisfy all of their personal needs. Not only do students no longer feel rushed, but this ensures that students are able to make the most of the time they are in class since they will not need to excuse themselves to use the bathroom or go to the vending machine. One-way hallways allow for  a more healthy, secure setting to school and the 15 minute passing periods have allowed more time for students to navigate their way to class and take care of anything else along their way.

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Missing old ways

I never thought my senior year would be controlled by COVID-19. Wearing masks to school, splitting up into A and B days, and only being with the second half of the alphabet that chose the hybrid learning experience is now my new normal. Oh, and also one-way hallways. 

I understand the immense need for health precautions. Even with them, we have still had a few cases requiring a lot of  people to quarantine even if they aren’t sick. I really do understand. But I dread walking through these one-way hallways. 

In my past three years of high school, we would anxiously wait at the door to insert ourselves into the terrible flow of traffic that was COVID-19-free hallways. It was terrible. I hated the feeling of other shoulders brushing up against mine or someone stepping on the back of my shoe. But I miss it now more than I ever thought I would. I long for that feeling of having to cram through the doorways at the perfect angle to fit through people. It was like a game, and I have memories of laughing with my friends when we would get stuck. 

With so little face-to-face contact, I know the amount of cases we attain will be much more limited than some places. I know, just like many other students do, that this is the safest way to prevent spreading the virus. That is ultimately the most important goal considering our current situation. The hallways on the bottom floor go left and the top goes right. It’s effective. But that makes it even harder to accept. 

It is so unnatural following the arrows directing us which way to go. Let’s also not forget the amount of times I’ve Had to walk the length of the school multiple times because I made a wrong turn. You would think that this being my final year I would know my way around better, but you would be thinking wrong. 

I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to even be face-to-face a couple days of the week. Some schools didn’t even get to choose an option, but we did. With that being said, there are some obvious things I miss: being able to see everyone smiling when they see their friends, sitting together at lunch and being with the entire student body. But not walking through crowded hallways struck me harder than I expected it to. I want to be able to go to school mask free and see all of my people and smile at my teachers and actually have them notice I am smiling. I want to have to rush to class at the one minute bell because I was standing in the commons talking and I want to bump into someone and have to apologize. 

I’ve always been told to appreciate the little things, but I never did take time to be thankful for our crowded hallways. Even though I didn’t anticipate to be craving them, I realize now how much I missed by not embracing them. It only makes me cross my fingers harder that the virus controlling our lives deals us a better set of playing cards so that things can go back to normal.

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