BVH implements PE locker item retrieval plan during quarantine

For students who are enrolled in Physical Education (PE), it might be a second pair of sneakers, sweatpants or even no belongings that was left in their assigned PE locker when Bonita Vista High (BVH) closed on March 13, along with all other schools in the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD). 

As of May 15, nine weeks have passed since students had access to the items they kept in their lockers, which usually includes a required PE uniform that students wash at home on the weekends. However, for some students, the belongings they left on campus are valuable. Freshman Azul Fernandez left sweatpants, a sweater and new cleats in her locker when she left for spring break.

“The sweater was given to me by someone in my family, so that one kind of meant a lot to me. Those [cleats] were pretty expensive and I use them for sports and sometimes I’ll need them because I still play sports out of school. Not having them and realizing that we wouldn’t be able to get them back was weird because I’ll have to get them next year, what if my shoe size changes,” Fernandez said.

While students like Fernandez want to get their belongings back, in some cases those items are not necessary for their PE classes under the new distance learning curriculum, which does not require students to suit up in uniform. 

“My class’ distance learning requires us to be active and report back what we’ve done, so what I left isn’t a necessity because I do have other athletic gear I can work out in, but it would be nice to get my clothes back and put them to good use again rather then it all getting thrown out,” senior Sarah Zermeno-Soto said.

However, on May 7, BVH Principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D. sent out an email regarding the PE locker situation and detailing the plan for essential item retrieval. This retrieval would allow some students to pick up their things before the campus fully opens up again.

“If there is an essential need for PE items left in the locker-room, please fill out the Google Form HERE [link to Google Form] and an administrator will be contacting you for retrieval information,” Del Rosario wrote. “Keep in mind that students and parents are not allowed on campus (or in the locker-rooms), therefore a custodian or administrator will be going into the locker-room to retrieve these items for you. Items will be placed in a bag and await your pick-up at a specified location.”

In cases like Zermeno-Soto’s, where items are not urgently needed at the moment, Del Rosario reassured PE students that they were not going to be harmed in any way, a thought that was echoed by Athletic Director, PE teacher and varsity football Head Coach Tyler Arciaga. 

“You will be able to retrieve your PE items upon our return to school.  We want to assure you that the locker-rooms are locked, and their key-entries are plugged for increased security. We also have administrators on campus and campus assistants monitoring the school grounds,” Del Rosario wrote.

It will be the staff that is still on campus who retrieve requested items from the locker rooms and help students get them. However, if too many people fill out the Google Form for essential item retrieval, Del Rosario stated the distribution “may take some time.”

“Obviously we want to try to keep everybody as safe as possible and in doing so, minimizing the number of people on campus is key, not only for the students and parents but also for the employees that are still there, so your administrators, your janitorial staff, your cafeteria [staff], maintenance, anybody that’s on campus—we want to make sure they’re safe as well,” Arciaga said. 

According to Arciaga, there has been a “manageable” amount of requests in the first few days after the form was released. This leaves the challenges of students who may have not been following proper protocol prior to leaving campus. 

“If you only have one pair of shorts or a limited amount of shorts or shirts to work out in, absolutely that’s what [the essential item retrieval is] for. And the PE teachers did leave out the locker books for the folks for the locker combinations if the kids forgot their locker combinations and the lockers that are assigned,” Arciaga said. “Where we will have trouble is if kids were sharing lockers which they’re not supposed to do, if they change their locker combination and didn’t tell the teacher.”

In addition to students who may rely heavily on workout gear they left on campus, students who will not be attending BVH next year should also fill out the essential retrieval google form, according to Arciaga. This includes seniors like Zermeno-Soto, who is taking a weight training class.

“For seniors I would definitely [recommend they request item retrieval] just cause if they’re going off to a college out of town, by the time that they allow people back on, they don’t want to deal with that. Or if somebody knew they were transferring schools, or moving or whatever else, definitely that would be a good case for [filling out the Google Form],” Arciaga said.  

The plan for essential item retrieval was created after discussion among administrators and members of the PE department after SUHSD administrators allowed “certain retrievals and interaction,” stated Arciaga. Administrators, however, are the ones who have access to the Google Form responses and are on campus. 

In the email from Del Rosario, no end date was given for the essential item retrievals. However, for Fernandez, the timing of the retrievals coincided with a trip out of town. This ended up stopping her from being able to request her belongings. She also noted she will not be able to return her sports uniform to BVH as was requested on May 13 in an email from Arciaga.

“I was already heading out of town so it’s not like I could return anything. That kind of didn’t help with my situation but it’s good that they actually took into consideration [the retrieval and returning of items].  I just don’t like the fact that they did it later on until people started addressing it when they should have already known before,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez and Zermeno-Soto expressed that they ended up leaving items in their lockers before leaving campus because of several factors during the week of March 9.

“At the end of the week they expect us to take our clothes home and have us bring them back clean the following Monday but the last week we were at school it was raining almost everyday. [Because of that,] they didn’t allow us to go close to the locker rooms since we were told to stay in the gym which is why our stuff was left there to begin with,” Zermeno-Soto said.

Despite the uncertainty that happened when staff and students last left campus, Arciaga feels that the plan that has been put in place by BVH will adequately help current PE students.

“[The plan is] good, it has the balance of allowing kids who really need stuff to get it, and still remaining contactless and protecting everybody’s safety. Like I said it was initially drawn out by Mr. Siragusa and then everyone kind of put a couple little tweaks into there and I think so far in talking to Dr. D, it’s been positive so far,” Arciaga said.  “Hopefully if you don’t need [the essential item retrieval], dont worry about it, it’ll still be there, but if you do absolutely fill [the Google Form] out.”