The Decision for Lockers

Nathaly Lozado Arreaga

As of November 29, 2021, access to lockers at Kearny High School has been reinstated. An email regarding locker protocols can be found in student inboxes. Students are only allowed the use of their assigned locker, no longer can storage space be shared. To regain access to their lockers, students must follow the locker schedule provided within the email. Once they have obtained a lock for their locker, they should ask security guards to remove the ties on the lockers.

Students are expected to follow guidelines and, especially, avoid congregation in front of lockers. The greatest concern for school administration is the efficacy of social distancing while at lockers. If students do not follow the locker visitation schedule, and the administration cannot ensure safe social distancing during locker visitation, then the school will be forced to reevaluate the situation. Principal Richardson agreed to an interview with the Kearnian to provide students with a greater understanding of administrative perspective and procedures. 

A significant amount of the disgruntlement from students came along with the winter months. As temperatures continue to decrease, the weight of student belongings will only continue to increase as well. Students dreaded the moment where they would be forced to choose between walking in freezing temperatures or lugging around a heavy jacket, on top of their already heavy backpack, all day long. As it turns out, school administrators agreed. The main incentives for the restoration of locker use were the changes in CDC guidelines and concern for the weight of student belongings. 

Although students are grateful for the restoration of access to lockers, one question lingers in the air. Why did other Kearny schools have lockers before the high school, even though high schoolers have a substantially greater amount of paraphernalia and academic material? Wasn’t the faculty aware of this factor?

Ms. Richardson explained the high school needed to provide the district with a detailed plan in order to restore lockers. They then had to wait for approval of the plan. Once this was received, they notified both students and families. As for why lockers were opened at the younger levels before KHS, Ms. Richardson explained this was a result of the design of the high school.

Elementary schools operate by class. Students do not switch between periods. Therefore, they have a sufficient amount of time to safely use their lockers. Lincoln middle school students are grouped by class and grade. They are able to schedule visits within those groups and ensure safe social distancing. 

What do these policy changes mean for Covid-19 regulations? Are we slowly making a return to normalcy? Or will the current Covid advances slow our progress? Ms. Richardson says KHS will continue to follow CDC guidelines and make changes accordingly.