Are we Ready to Use Locker Rooms Again?

Locker rooms may be a huge change for those who haven’t been at school for quite a long time, but the lockers are expected to have many positive outcomes.

Camilla S.

Locker rooms may be a huge change for those who haven’t been at school for quite a long time, but the lockers are expected to have many positive outcomes.

Emily L., Kaitlyn M., and Adrian M.

Starting November 1, Day Creek Intermediate School will begin to require all students to use

locker rooms once again. How will this affect student athletic participation? 

Many students are nervous about changing in front of each other, but should they be? What are the positives and negatives in bringing back locker rooms during Covid?  

“I think that it will affect participation in a positive way. Students are going to feel like they can move around more in their PE clothes. Girls right now love to wear crop tops, so being able to wear a longer shirt, as a PE shirt, might make them participate more, so they don’t have to worry about getting dress-coded,” said Mrs. Ybarra

The intent is that PE participation will increase once students begin changing into gym clothes, especially for the girls, who are more likely to be dress-coded that period. 

“One of the benefits of using locker rooms is that students will be able to change into clothing that is appropriate for physical activities that you do while in PE. Students will be able to lock up their clothing and valuable items while using the locker rooms instead of leaving them outside in their backpacks,” said Ms. Rose.

But it’s not just related to the dress code. Sometimes the perfect outfit for school isn’t perfect for PE. So teachers are hoping to see more student participation by changing into gym clothes. They will be able to do more “traditional” exercises (pushups, running, etc), however, with less time.   

“There’s a lot more things you can do as far as physical activity; we’re not limited by what we are wearing. For instance, if girls are wearing skirts or if we’re wearing the wrong kinds of shoes, now we won’t be restricted from doing all types of physical activities,” said Mr. Henry. 

There is one problem with dressing out. Currently, students have more time in PE, while dressing out and changing after class will consume time that could be used during the period. 

“I really like having more time to teach [as things currently stand]. The locker room changing will eat that time up,” said Ms. Rose.

Because of Covid, students are unfamiliar with how to open lockers as well as figuring out the whole changing process. 

“We have been working on locks for two days making sure everyone is comfortable opening any lock put in front of them. We will do a locker-palooza to help give students more practice with a little competition added in. And we will be going into the locker rooms ahead of time with each student having their combinations for their assigned locker to practice opening it way before they have to change,” said Mr. Nemecek

The early warning that students are returning to locker rooms may have brought relief to students who are nervous about the new experience. Many students have not changed into gym clothes before and have been worried ever since the announcement. In a world driven by social media, students may be worried about being body-shamed while changing. 

“The fortunate part of this is everyone is really focused on opening their locker and getting changed.  This does not allow time for someone to watch you. If you change in a quick manner, no one will see you or pay any attention to what you are doing,” said Ms. Rose. 

Adults assure students that changing in front of others isn’t as scary as it may seem. Coaches have explained to students that everyone is more worried about themselves than watching others with only about four minutes to change. 

“We are informing our students by sharing bits of information every day and letting them know it’s awkward for everyone at first and that they will get through it,” said Mr. Nemecek. 

The coaches are also doing their best to keep students safe during the time of a pandemic by following the safety expectations for the wellbeing of students in the locker rooms. Wearing masks is not an issue, but social distancing may cause a problem with the confined space of the locker rooms. 

“I think it’s important to enforce any rule to keep kids safe. Ultimately we’re here to provide you guys an education and keep you safe,” said Mrs. Tarasi, one of Day Creek’s assistant principals. 

Overall, changing into gym clothes will create a new experience for many middle schoolers, which coaches anticipate will increase participation and prevent dress code concerns.