To the Editor:
I am a student at Chatham High School, and while in general, I feel that the district’s plan for dealing with the current pandemic is adequate, there is one issue that I feel it doesn’t address. Social distancing in the hallways when students need to go from class to class in the upper grades. As someone who has been in the hallways moving from class-to-class for multiple years, I know that students are rarely more than two feet apart at any given time moving between classes.
Seeing as the current WHO recommendations and district policy is three feet apart with masks, I am concerned by this. While most of the time, people are moving around quickly, there often occurs periods where mid-sized pockets of people move in the same direction for up to a minute, sometimes more. This is caused by both the size of the hallways, and the time that students have to move between classes.
One specific area of the high school that is so bad it has been dubbed the ‘vortex’ as it has five different hallways intersecting at the same point. Most students pass through it multiple times a day. In it, you are usually right next to several students and can be in it for up to a minute. Even with masks, this is too close.
The rest of the current plan, however, is good. The best measures the district has taken is to require masks and construct the school day so that lunch is not taking place in the school. This would have been impossible to social distance due to the proximity that most students are in during lunch. Since the district has demonstrated an understanding of this issue, I am hoping that they will address this oversight if it is brought to their attention.
I am concerned that despite the measures we are taking to limit the spread, a major oversight has been made with regard to how the students travel in the halls.