Free Parking for Full-Time Learning

Free Parking for Full-Time Learning

Tegan Heswall, Staff Writer

Quick trivia question: What do Deerfield, Libertyville, Highland Park, Warren, Zion, Stevenson, Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, and Waukegan High Schools all have in common?

They are not charging their seniors for parking this year.

The administration sent a survey to the class of 2021 asking what they could do to celebrate seniors during this challenging time. I don’t feel the need to be celebrated or acknowledged. Instead, I’d rather be given one senior privilege: free parking like so many neighboring schools.

Though it may seem small in the grand scheme of life in the time of COVID-19, waiving the parking fee would be a simple gift for this year’s seniors. The kids returning to the building are making an effort to re-establish a routine for themselves. 

The $8.25 daily fee doesn’t sound like too much, but if you park twice a week for a month, you end up paying $66 to park in front of the school. When many families are struggling financially, the last thing they should worry about is the cost of their students getting themselves to and from school. 

I understand that students can park at the train station and walk to and from school for less than $4 a day. But with the temperatures as cold as they have been, I know that walking into the building in under 30 seconds was something I was grateful for when I first went back to the school.

The senior/athletic parking lot has about 144 spots available. On my first day of in-person hybrid learning, I was dropped off at the school because I didn’t sign up for the parking raffle. I heard people talk about how they parked in the lot throughout the day despite not having a sticker.  Because the system was so informal at the start, you could park at school for the first couple of weeks without being penalized for doing so. They hadn’t handed out the sticker that would go on the windshield of the student’s vehicle, so I drove to school the next day. It didn’t take long for me to find an open parking spot. 

I was in fear of getting a ticket every day because I didn’t have a sticker on my car. Despite the anxiety, it made going to school a lot easier: I could leave the house later, save my mum the extra time, and reduce our daily school car trips from four to two. 

With less than half of the student population attending school each day, why can’t we make free parking a senior perk?  How much of a loss would it be for the school?

Despite the number of students signed up to attend in-person learning, a handful have chosen to stay back without notifying the school. 

Current In-Person Attendance

Friday, February 5

Expected: 401 students

Attended: 286 students

Monday, February 8

Expected: 429 students

Attended: 324 students

Student Learning Preferences (as of 2/8/21)

Hybrid, In-Person Monday/Tuesday: 379

Hybrid, In-Person Thursday/Friday: 351

Remote: 683

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (all four days): 50

With the inconsistent student attendance, why should a student’s parking spot be set in stone?