Campus Closed for the 2021-22 School Year

Students can no longer leave school freely during the day

The school’s front doors are now locked except for the beginning and end of the day

Owen Shakelton

The school’s front doors are now locked except for the beginning and end of the day

Shaker Heights High School students are prohibited from leaving the campus during the school day for the 2021-22 school year. 

In previous years, juniors and seniors were allowed to leave campus during a lunch period or an unassigned period. However, this year only seniors are allowed to leave campus, and only during specific periods with permission.

The 2021-22 Student Handbook states, “Seniors who have a free seventh or eight period, may leave after fifth or sixth period. Seniors who do not have a first or second period may arrive to school at the start of third or fourth period or Crew time.”

“I honestly don’t like it at all because in the past years we’ve always seen the seniors have free periods and they’d always leave and having too much school in a day is overwhelming sometimes,” senior Mohamed Elmashae said. “Just to leave and have your own break outside the school and not within the school was a thing we were looking forward to,” he said.

In the past open campus, upperclassmen were allowed to leave without permission, while underclassmen had to receive parent approval to leave.

Previously the school supported open campus and found it beneficial. “Open campus is designed to allow appropriate freedom for students to use their time and the school’s facilities in a responsible and productive way,” the 2018-19 student handbook stated. “A student may arrive at school after the first period because the student does not have an assigned class, may eat lunch on the front lawn or patio, or may work in the library during a free period to complete a research project.”

Senior Ajay Sharma thinks an open campus is a good thing to have, “I know many people that are in favor of it and are mad that it has been restricted,” he said. However, he also thinks a closed campus can be beneficial with the COVID-19 pandemic. “It limits contact tracing, it limits the possibility of someone going out and getting it,” Sharma said.

“We have to be able to contact trace. I have to be accountable to the county for where everybody is and with. You can’t do that on an open campus,” Principal Eric Juli said. “We looked at tardy rates for students leaving campus and coming back to class after lunch, and they’re really high,” he said.

“We’ve created this situation where it’s far easier for kids who live in the Onaway neighborhood or live on the oval to go home, and kids who live in the Mercer neighborhood, or Lomond have to stay here, and that also often breaks down along racial lines,” Juli said.

The houses in the Onaway neighborhood and on the oval are a short walking distance from the school, while a neighborhood such as Lomond, which houses more black students, is further away from the school. Mercer, which is one of the furthest neighborhoods away from the school, houses mostly white students.

“So we’re saying white kids who live close, head on home. Black kids, you live further, tough luck, here’s your school lunch, right. And that doesn’t feel appropriate to me,” Juli said. “The primary reason remains COVID because I have to be able to be accountable to the county, but those are some of the other things that I’m thinking about long term when COVID is over.”

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