OPINION: Hallways Too Crowded For Social Distancing


It’s no secret that hallways are crowded during passing time. It is common to be pushed or shoved at bottlenecks, blocked by slow-walkers, or side-swiped by speed demons weaving their way through the crowd. While students are understandably stressed about getting across the school on time for class, some of us are equally concerned with safety.  

“When considering the size of our student population along with the size of our school, LMS will have hallways that are crowded,” said Assistant Principal Aidan Vigil. 

Staircases seem to pose a particular problem.  Two of the most crowded spots include the central staircase on the English hallway, which leads both up and down from the main level, and the staircase and hallway by the front office. These blockages cause problems getting to lockers, and often result in students being late to class. 

“The crowded hallways impact my ability to use my locker because it increases the time to get to my locker,” said seventh grader Hanna N., whose locker is in the English and history hallway. 

Equally as important, though, they cause students to get uncomfortably close to each other despite CDC guidelines suggesting social distancing during the current pandemic.

“It’s not really social distancing anymore because people are so packed together,” said Hanna.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), middle school students should be at least three feet apart while traveling through the hallways. When hallways are crowded, this is impossible.  

According to Vigil, Longfellow has not had any spread of the virus within our building thus far, so they are hopeful that our mitigation strategies continue to work.  However, students need to cooperate for those strategies to work.

Measures put in place for social distancing are largely ignored by students. (Photo by Joyce G. and ClaireZ.)

The school has tried to encourage social distancing by putting up signs and vocally reminding students to do so, but students seem to largely ignore these. Administrators changed some of the stairs in the math hallway to up only and down only, which alleviated congestion on the first floor for a short while. But students started ignoring the signs after a while and the blockages started up again. 

The crowded hallways problem is not going to resolve itself, and we all need to help. Rather than stopping to talk to friends in the middle of the hallway, students should talk while walking or move out of traffic. You might be close to your destination, but keep in mind that other students need to get to class as well, and may have a longer way to go. 

Pushing and running to get through the crowd is unsafe.  Not only can people get hurt, but they are forced into close proximity with each other, increasing their chances of contracting covid. If everyone kept a reasonable pace it would be more efficient and safer.

Students should remember that anything that happens in the hallways not only impacts you, but also those around you. Paying attention, following signs put up by teachers or administrators, and listening to verbal reminders will also help everyone get to class on time.