Hallway Traffic

Boro makes the transition from virtual to fully in-person, and, with it, the school juggles massive crowds

Boro makes the transition from virtual to fully in-person, and, with it, the school juggles massive crowds

By Brooke Miliote, Staff Writer

With almost 1,400 students, the halls of Freehold High School have always been flushed with students. However, it was different for the hybrid/in-person/virtual cohorts last year: in-person and hybrid students had the luxury of walking through nearly empty hallways, often being the only person throughout an entire strip of their route. Meanwhile, remote students avoided hallway-crowding altogether, easily transitioning from class to class with the press of a button. 

This year, with the transition back to fully in-person, the reintroduction of students to the halls has presented problems: eradicating any semblance of social distancing and causing frequent (and lengthy) delays. 

Transitioning back to fully in-person classes has a myriad of benefits for the students and teachers alike such as easier communication and students’ better understanding of the material. On the other hand, it creates a new risk of exposure. While the state is taking precautions and requiring masks in the building, close contact might be counterproductive. The classroom and the cafeteria may be the first two “dangerous” locations to come to mind, but the hallways are often the most crowded. Moving from the various lunch locations to the next class is a jam-packed experience, but not much fun. The divided cafeteria locations cause extreme, unexpected traffic: leaving the auxiliary gym and moving to the A-Wing takes a startling 6 minutes– even when walking as quickly as possible. 

The unprecedented traffic in the hallways can be a result of two factors:

  1. The 2021-2022 school year is essentially introducing two sets of freshmen to the building: sophomores who never experienced a “normal” year last year and actual freshmen who are seeing it for the first time ever. A uniquely overwhelming portion of the student body has to become accustomed to the school all at once– resulting in more lost students, which leads to more traffic stops.
  2. Lunch arrangements may be causing these slowdowns as well. In the first week of school, the staff directed each grade to a specific eating area. Students pouring into one slim hallway out of four different locations simultaneously causes major slowdowns, just wrapping around the gym can have several complete stops.

The transition back to in-person was not going to be simple; juggling the risks of exposure, unengaged students, and unfamiliarity with the building are just a few of the challenges Boro is currently tackling. The close-knit Boro community is now even closer, in the classroom, the cafeteria, and especially the hallways. For now, be patient in the halls, and try to reach your destination as easily and quickly as possible. 

As the year progresses, Freehold High school will soon overcome these challenges, acclimating to a new, old way of learning.