Adjusting the Foundation

Salesianum Takes Steps to Socially Distance in Tight Quarters

Matthew Deckers, Entertainment Analyst

Crowded hallways and packed stairwells were the mark of a typical day at Salesianum. Walking around the school, you would surely run into hordes of students navigating their way towards classrooms and lockers to be on time for tests or find a good seat in the cafeteria. After March 13, 2020, however, the building that students and teachers became accustomed to wouldn’t look nearly the same.

In the wake of COVID-19, large social gatherings have been restricted in order to effectively prevent the spread of the virus. To Salesianum, this meant enforcing a number of social distancing rules to limit large bunches of students from forming. Hallways, for instance, are split into one-way lanes, while different staircases have “up” and “down” labels. Teachers assign students to distanced seating, and lunchtime has shifted from inside the cafeteria to large tents in the parking lot.

When asked about planning for the 2020-2021 school year during a global pandemic, Dean or Activities Mr. Jackman explained, “We always wanted to have three plans for everything we came up with,” whether we’d be going back normally or distance learning. “At any given moment anything could change, so we wanted to be ready under any scenario.” When a hybrid schedule was decided on, faculty members walked around the building and imagined how the flow should shift to avoid congestion, leading to marked-off stairwells and closed-off lockers.

These new social distancing strategies needed to be enforced throughout the building somehow. Enter the Minutemen, a group of upperclassmen chosen to monitor the flow of traffic in the school. This former Salesianum tradition dating back to the 8th and West era was revived in response to building adjustments.

“Being a Minuteman has been a great opportunity to remind my brothers that they are a part of something bigger than themselves,” says James Edwards ‘21, who explains that their supervision serves as a reminder “to protect those around us.” They even get to leave class a little early.

Salesianum’s crowded environment was unlikely to return this school year. But thanks to the early implementation of new building adjustments, students and faculty are able to return in some capacity and continue their education.