Understaffing and COVID-19 protocols cause longer entry lines

Rohini Kieffer

Due to understaffed security personnel and COVID-19 protocols, lines to enter Wilson have become extremely long.

This year, there are two new grades learning how to enter the building. Furthermore, the challenge to maintain six feet apart inside the building increases the time it takes to enter. The lines typically lengthen after 8:50 am, as time approaches the start of school. Interim Principal Gregory Bargeman attributes the long lines to understaffing. ”We didn’t have enough security guards on a few days [so] we only were able to open up three lines instead of the four lines we generally opened,” Bargeman said. 

  Security guard Lynn Stallings echoed this sentiment. “It’s hard to have one person running [both machines], so we do the best we can.” Stallings adds that understaffing is not the only issue: “with a lot of new ninth graders and tenth graders, [they] don’t know the process as far as what [clothing and accessories] to take off, so it takes a little bit of getting used to.” Accessories include belts, jewelry, cellphones, or anything that contains metal components. 

However, Stallings noted that the socially-distanced single file lines inside the building makes the lines appear longer.

This change has frustrated students and teachers. 

Freshman Josephine Caplan, who normally arrives at Wilson around 8:50 am regularly waits in the long lines. She said that she would approach the entry process more positively if she did not have to wait for so long.  

“I regularly wait for ten to fifteen minutes, sometimes twenty,” Caplan said. She has further concerns about the weather as winter approaches. 

Long lines also prevent teachers from fully startinging their class on time. 

It is a frustrating way to start the day–– my first period Imaging classes typically have 3-7 latecomers, and it slows us all down,” imaging and digital media teacher Alexandra Stryker said. “Students who come late miss instruction and context that is hard to fully regain when they trickle in up to 20 minutes late,” she continued.

Staff have also noticed the shift in arrival times and line lengths since the first day of school. According to Bargeman, “the issue is that at the [start] of school, [students were] coming [into the building] earlier and we are finding that [now] there’s a drift: students are coming later or waiting until the last minute to come into the school.” 

Caplan adds that “at first [she] wanted to arrive at least twenty minutes early but now [she] doesn’t care and arrives five minutes before class.” Stryker agrees, adding that she, “thinks students, in general, were a little better about allowing a lot of time to get to school on time the first week of school.” 

There are currently no changes being made to alleviate the length of the lines.•