Students and teachers returning to EHHS during the Covid-19 pandemic have had to adjust to the new one-way hallways by following arrows placed around the school.
As schools in Connecticut planned to reopen this fall, the state’s Department of Education released the “CT Adapt, Advance, Achieve” plan with guidelines and recommendations for schools. One of these suggestions was one-way hallways as a method to reduce face-to-face encounters and promote social distancing.
Principal Vincent DeNuzzo said that the school thought the one-way hallways recommendation was a good idea and decided to implement it. To start, Mr. DeNuzzo said that he and his staff “started to look at the layout” of the school in order to see what paths would let traffic flow. Then they “mapped it out on paper” and “walked it” to get a feel for the one-way paths. Mr. DeNuzzo said that some areas of the school, such as the science wing, are confusing, but that these were “unavoidable.”
Along with many other changes to school this year, students have had to adjust to these new hallways. Mr. DeNuzzo said that for the most part, students have been “awesome with going with the flow of traffic” but that he knows it can be frustrating at times. Other adults in the school shared similar opinions. Mr. Ben O'Meara, a social worker, said that people do follow the arrows but that “lunch can be messy.” Mrs. Gretchen Coup, a guidance counselor, said that students were “mostly” following the hallways but that it was harder “near the bathrooms” since students want to “get to them right there.” Overall, Mrs. Coup said that “it works very well” and that “it was a smart decision.”
Students had more mixed opinions though and expressed their troubles with navigating the hallways. Ian Reynolds simply said the hallways were good. Julianna Paranto also said they were good, but that “it’s sometimes hard to walk around.” Jocelyn Avila similarly said that it was harder to get to class while Ella Severino said that it is “difficult” and that she “doesn’t like it very much.” The one-way hallways are certainly a hard thing for students to adjust to. Mr. DeNuzzo believes certain measures help with students navigating the halls. He said, “Staggered bells has helped the number of kids” in the halls and that “making it so you only have to follow during passing makes sense.”
Regardless of opinions on the hallways, the most important thing is whether they are effective or not. Their purpose is to prevent crowding in the hallways and limit the amount of students interacting with each other during passing. Mr. O’Meara thinks that they are “effective for promoting social distancing.” Ian Reynolds agreed, however, many other students were less certain. Julianna Paranto said that “sometimes it’s crowded,” Jocelyn Avila said they were “not really effective,” while Ella Severino said they were “a little bit [effective], but not really because we are still close in the halls.”
The main goal of the one-way hallways, according to the CT Adapt, Advance, Achieve plan, is to promote social distancing by lowering the amount of people passing each other in the halls, however, some people do not think it has a big impact. Mr. DeNuzzo believes, “[The one-way system is] allowing for us to manage the volume of people in the halls, allows us to avoid students stopping and interacting, so I do think so, for the most part it was a good recommendation.” Overall, most people seem to think the one-way hallways are at least a little effective for social distancing. Everyone hopes that the one-way hallways, together with other adjustments to the school, make EHHS a safe environment for students and teachers to return to for in-person learning.