In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, McQuaid Jesuit has adopted many policies to improve student life: They have removed homeroom and lockers, allowed students to carry backpacks, modified the dress code, and adopted a new schedule. All of these changes are not only beneficial, but beloved by the student population. It is our hope that McQuaid will not return to its previous state and arrest the progress it has made this past year.
Homerooms, Backpacks & Lockers
Traditionally, McQuaid provided a locker for every student, making them keep their backpack there along with numerous other belongings. Students are happy to have lockers, but do not want to give up their right to keep a backpack despite that. In the past, McQuaid has had three separate lunches, and students would sometimes have to grab their binders, textbooks, and notebooks for three separate classes. Even now, with two classes in a row, not being allowed to carry a backpack would cause many problems, not the least of which is that it would waste passing time between classes. McQuaid should feel compelled to allow lockers if COVID regulations demonstrate that they are safe and sanitary, but they should not take away the students’ beloved backpacks.
Homeroom is also a topic that brings up deep feelings for McQuaid students. In reality, there is no purpose for a designated homeroom as an arrival time. All of the functions of the old homeroom are now easily fulfilled by the first-period teacher. Making students arrive at school much earlier than they have to not only directly takes time away from their already little sleep, but is also a massive waste of time.
The dress code has always been a sensitive topic at McQuaid. For many parents and students, the McQuaid dress code is an outdated tradition that has no true benefit. Students are abhorrently hot in the summer, and completely uncomfortable the rest of the year. All the information we have gathered points towards one inescapable conclusion: student’s grades, physical health, mental health, and overall livelihood are all negatively impacted by a harsh dress code. Using facts and logic that don’t care about your feelings, we can conclude that the new changes have allowed students to be more relaxed while at school, and it is a change that has been needed for many years. If McQuaid does not completely keep the dress code from this year, they should at least follow other Jesuit schools in allowing times during the year when students can wear polo shirts. A common argument made by the administration is that enforcing a strict dress code, where students have to wear suit-like apparel, prepares them for their future jobs. In reality, only around 1/10th of people wear a suit to work, and that number is drastically dropping. Being able to express oneself through clothing in their school or workplace is necessary for bringing about a more positive attitude in that respect. There are many great reasons for reforming the dress code, and not many for remaining eternally complacent and traditionalist. McQuaid should not be “the last to the table,” but rather the pioneers of a new era in Jesuit ministry. The idea that many parents want to send their kids to a school that forces them to wear dress clothes is a severe mischaracterization. Virtually every parent is fine with polo shirts and considers it a logical step into the future.
The new schedule is a great addition to the college preparatory aspect of McQuaid. The longer class periods have many benefits and a few insignificant downfalls. The classes more closely resemble a college environment, as in college, nobody has eight classes in one single day. [Ed. Note—Excuse me?] The schedule also allows for an extra day in which students can do their homework or study for their tests/quizzes, which makes it especially important to those who have chosen to challenge a serious courseload with many APs. It is easily understandable that nobody should have to study for five APs in one night.
We now have the XYXY type schedule, with a day-long break from each class, which makes rotation within the schedule completely possible. What must be done is the following: we should keep four classes on one day, and the other four classes on the next day, and simply rotate the time during the day when the classes happen. For example, students do not mind if they have math first or last period, they simply want to have a day in between classes. This plan of action would fix all of the issues pertaining to students coming in late and always missing part of the same class. The same logic applies to kids who always miss the last period or a certain day of school. McQuaid Jesuit senior David Dancuta brings up a great point. “I have been here for many years, and have lived through many painful schedule changes. This new schedule has allowed me to pursue my academic dreams, while also advancing my other goals in life. Being able to participate in extracurricular activities, and balancing them with school and friends is generally a Brobdingnagian challenge. This new schedule has provided me with a great opportunity to be a better me, and I would just feel bad if they took it away from you. Also, that point about the way to rotate classes is really smart. High IQ!”
To summarize, these specific reforms that McQuaid has made for their COVID protocol are extremely beneficial for students. As the last point, we are also waiting for the McQuaid weight room to open to all students, although this is a COVID issue and we fully understand the administration’s reservations. Everyone who wants to get as much from McQuaid as they can loves the changes, and most people see how they are simply logical steps in the climb towards a better McQuaid community.