Stairwell Scare: Administration Closes Side Stairs

Maddox Wade

Traffic Jam!: After administration announced that the two side stairwells will close and students only have access to the central stairs, students took to to construct a petition.

North Atlanta students and staff alike must endure the insufferable Atlanta traffic everyday to arrive at our beloved lake-side building. Students are now dismayed to find that instead of a refuge from the traffic, the school will host much more—instead this time the hallways will be clogged with legions of foot traffic as opposed to the ever-present lines of cars on Northside Drive.

On Thursday, Jan. 6, students received a message from the administration as they prepared for the impending in-person return to school the following week. The message stated that the two side stairwells would be returned to their past status of emergency use only and that students should use the remaining central stairwell or the elevators to travel from class to class. Administration cited a need for better student supervision and safety as the reason for the change, although many students fear their safety is being sacrificed instead of promoted. “The change seems unreasonable and illogical,” said sophomore Chase Hankin. “I think it will increase Covid exposure, not to mention tardies to class.” 

The biggest concern students hold regarding the stairwell is the inevitable increase in exposure to Covid-19. Dubs already have the virus on their minds whilst attending school alongside over two-thousand other students, so forcing the entire student body into one stairwell is bound to only worsen this anxiety. Additionally, so many students in such a small space at once is guaranteed to cause clogging. During the first week of the modification, countless students were late to class with nothing but hallway traffic jams to blame. The health risk of students and staff along with the sacrificed class time is causing immense frustration among the pupils at North Atlanta. “I’ve been late to class several times already because of standstills in the stairs,” said sophomore Charles Ray. “Life would be a whole lot easier if they reopened the side stairs.”

Junior Ben Lopez took matters into his own hands after seeing the disruptions caused by alterations. Lopez first noticed an issue on his way to lunch on the first day of the change when his class suffered a shortened lunch period due to the foot traffic. He was overwhelmed by pictures and videos his peers had captured of the impasse and decided to use all this information to make a change. Lopez started a petition on that urges the school to reopen the remaining two walkways. The petition has amassed nearly 400 signatures in less than a week, and its comment section is filled with students’ laments and safety concerns. After the petition reaches 500 signatures Lopez intends to present the form and pictures from his classmates of the blockage to Mr. Douglas to encourage action. “It’s really a matter of student safety,” said Lopez. “It’s impossible to ensure everyone wears their masks correctly and so the rest of us have to suffer the possible consequences.” For now, Dubs must try and beat the traffic to get to class on time.