The Editors of The Exchanged
In the last edition of The Exchanged, the editors sent out a poll to gauge where the student body stood on different issues. We received a significant amount of responses, and we would like to unpack these responses for the public. Before we start, however, we want to acknowledge the fact that the administration at St. Albans has an incredibly difficult job, and the opinions expressed in the poll are not the opinions of the editors at The Exchanged. By publishing these results, we simply want to make known what students are thinking, and hopefully the results will encourage spirited discourse about potential issues at St. Albans.
The first three questions on the poll were about the administration’s response to COVID and the masking policies at St. Albans. In the last few weeks, St. Albans has gone from enforcing a double mask/KN95 policy to being mask optional, so the responses to these questions are somewhat irrelevant. Despite this, students’ opinions on these issues are still useful in revealing how, at the time, people regarded the COVID policies at school. Of the respondents, only 25% approved of the administration’s response to COVID. This number has almost surely increased since then, but at the time students felt that school leadership was not listening to them, and felt that the school had enacted policies that did not have the support of the students. For example, only 12.5% of the respondents approved of the double mask policy (73.2% disapproved). School leadership kept in place a policy that students actively disliked, and this was not received well by the student body. In the “If I could change one thing about St. Albans, it would be…” question at the bottom of the poll, two types of answers showed up time and time again. Students wanted a single or mask optional policy ( DC had required at least single masks in school), and students also wanted their opinions to be taken into account when decisions that directly affected them were made. While students thought that it took much too long to do away with the double mask policy, we commend the administration on quickly implementing a mask optional policy as soon as DC revoked their stringent guidelines.
Overall, 34% of respondents approve of the administration’s general performance, 41% disapprove of the administration’s performance, and 25% have no opinion. It is likely that these numbers were largely affected by people’s opinions on how school leadership handled COVID, and they have probably gone up in the last two weeks. However, these percentages still show that students were upset with the administration. In the final question, many people said that they feel that school leadership never listens to them and is too removed to understand what the students actually want and need. The administration has made many steps forward recently, though. We are back in the refectory (which 93% of students are pleased with), breakfast is back, masks are off, and school feels almost completely normal now.
School leadership works extremely hard, and most people recognize this—students just also feel that they should be listened to more often. Students continue to support members of the school leadership team, and people hope that, as one student put it, “the administration works hard to run the school in a way that accurately reflects the wishes of the student body.”