Students Forced to Quad Area During Lunch


Atiyana Sowell

Students out in the quad during lunch.

WCHS students not in the immediate quad area during lunch are finding themselves forced out of their comfort spaces into an already packed quad.

With more than 1,900 students on campus, everyone is struggling to find space. This ends up with students finding solace in more deserted areas of campus – behind buildings, outside teacher classrooms, in the handball courts, anywhere where people are not – and school administration does not approve.

Campus security who steer students away from these areas are met with complaints, especially those concerned with the rise of COVID cases and lack of comfortable spaces to relax on campus.

Senior Victoria Galvez expressed her concern about the lack of shade in the heavily occupied quad. “I can’t really be in the heat for too long and I feel uncomfortable around large groups of people,” Galvez said. “Why would you want everyone in a small space with COVID-19 in the air? It’s honestly tiring.”

Junior Aidan Lopez echoed her sentiments. “We’ve been asked to move about five times, even when we were in direct line of sight with security, before everyone was kicked out of the area and asked to move towards the quad,” Lopez said. “It felt like we couldn’t sit anywhere.”

The ever looming threat of COVID-19 has had students worried for their safety. Principal Dr. D’Errico revealed that he would love for students to have access to all space on campus, but it’s not doable at the moment.

“Supervision is the key reason everyone is asked to move as kids’ safety is our number one concern,” said D’Errico. “We only have six security guards on our campus at most. In order for them to patrol it and make sure that every kid is safe and accounted for, that’s why we ask for those outside areas to stay off limits.”

“We’re continuing to look for spaces we can see from afar at our vantage points,” D’Errico continued. “For example, the area we’re now calling the plaza that’s between the T-building and the quad, we’ve moved our patrols over there so more students can spread out and be over there during breaks.”

In regards to students’ health concerns, Dr. D’Errico continues to base current guidelines on Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “The county’s guidelines are stricter than the state’s, so if L.A. County deems it safe to be outside without a mask on, we’re trusting their science and decisions.”

With that, off limit areas during lunch are spaces behind classrooms of all buildings where security cannot spot students. Still, students can rest easier knowing that their safety is the school’s top priority and there is a chance for more favorable decisions to be made in the future.