There is more than one pandemic roaming the halls and stairways here at Apopka High School, and it is not the delta variant. It is the congestion on the stairs and in the hallways.
Everyone takes comfort in their own space, and rest assured no one wants some stranger to invade their bubble, whether that be at work, home, or school. The act of pushing your way into someone else’s space is usually frowned upon. In this age of COVID, personal space is more important than ever. People often shout, “6 feet!” when strangers are breathing down their necks. However, when you are a student at a high school with a population nearing ~4,000 (just of students). The whole ideology of personal space goes out the window, and students and staff are packed tightly together like fish on display in flea markets.
It seems like most public schools in Florida have an issue with their stairs and hallway traffic. Many blame it on slow underclassmen taking strolls in the hallways, while others shift the blame on the overcrowding issue. So what is the real issue here? Is it slow walkers or overcrowding? Is it both, or is it an entirely different problem? Was it something we glossed over?
Eddie Jenkins, a well-known and loved dean here at Apopka High School, believes overcrowding plays a part in the traffic on the stairs; however, he also believes that there is a problem we seemed to overlook. “I think it is the design of the school. I think we could have done a better job when designing the school. When you got 3 floors like that and everybody coming to that one little stairwell it’s bad. So I think it’s one of the biggest things… the bad design of the school.”
So let us just say the issues are overcrowding, slow walkers, and the school’s design. What are the administration at Apopka and various other schools doing to ensure students are treated fairly in the age of tardy sweeps and demanding teachers?
Students like Backeesha Legerme, a senior this year and someone who has a class on North Campus 1st period, finds it difficult to effectively get to her classes when she is met with a stampede of students. Backeesha tells us, “It is difficult for me to get to my class from North Campus to Main Campus all the way at the top in the 500 building. Good thing my teachers are understanding but having to get through all the people in the morning is frustrating.” The administration here at Apopka seems to be fair to students who have classes in buildings quite a distance from the main campus. Though this is great, there is still the problem with overcrowding, slow walkers, and our school’s poor design.
How exactly can we overcome these issues? And is it even possible?
It looks as though we must all play our part in not contributing to blocking the walking traffic by not standing in the way of anyone heading to class, by walking in the direction the arrow points, and by (from the voices of all upperclassmen), walking faster.