Individual classrooms and gathering spaces are now locked after 4 p.m. every day to prevent student use without adult supervision.
As a result, Mudd Library is now open until 6 p.m. to provide students with a place to work until the 6:15 late bus departs. Previously, the library was open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday.
Head of Upper School Laura Ross said that the school implemented the new policy to prevent future liability issues.
“[The classroom issue] was something we really needed to take a close look at,” Ross said. “I am grateful that our library staff stepped up and figured out a way to shift their staffing so that someone could be in the library until six, because we didn’t want to start locking classrooms if the students didn’t have a warm, safe and quiet place to go until the late bus leaves.”
Some students said that the extended hours have been beneficial in helping them to complete their work.
“I really appreciate it because when I don’t have cheer practice, I like to stay at school and get most of my work done before I get home,” Julia MacCary ’19 said. “It was hard for me to finish all my work when the library closed at five.”
Many students in after-school programs, however, have expressed concern about the new policy.
Members of the debate team, who used the open rooms to run practice rounds, said that the classroom closures have had a significant negative effect on weekly practices.
“When the classrooms are closed, we can’t have the same type of practice because we are confined to one or two rooms with a debate coach,” debate team member Lauren Morganbesser ’19 said. “We only have so many coaches, so the element of supervision is detrimental. As a result, our practices are greatly restrained.”
Morganbesser said that the increased number of library hours does not solve the problems that the closures present.
“You have to be quiet in the library and you definitely can’t give speeches or do practice debate rounds,” Morganbesser said. “I’m sure that if we tried to use the library as another place for debate practice that we would get kicked out.”
Although Ross said that she acknowledges that the change may have an impact on certain students, she hopes that the policy will overall benefit the student body.
“We know that, as with any change in procedure or structure, there will be issues that arise that we need to figure out how to address, but we feel confident that this is a good step toward continuing to help ensure the safety and security of our students and our campus,” Ross said.