RBHS announced in the Jan. 13 communication newsletter that students will now be able to park on campus prior to receiving a parking pass.
This update is one of several new parking policies RBHS administration has implemented this academic year, including free permits and the ability to submit an application online. All of these policies are expected to remain in place for the duration of the school year.
Columbia Public Schools’ (CPS) high school principals made the decision to be more lenient with student parking because of potential issues with financial accessibility, particularly in light of COVID-19, RBHS principal Jacob Sirna said.
“We decided as high school principals that we would not charge for parking this year,” Sirna said. “This was a direct result of our anticipation that some families would be experiencing financial hardships related to the pandemic.”
Senior Phillip Lei agrees with these new changes. Aside from financial accessibility, he also thinks the lower number of students on campus as a result of hybrid learning will make parking and driving at RBHS easier.
“I think [the policy] is a good move,” Lei said. “It makes sense since a lot of people are experiencing financial hardships. Also, with the student body split into two groups, it’ll make the parking lots less crowded anyways.”
Junior Brooke Walker also thinks the free parking will make commuting to school easier and quicker. She hopes the changes will cause fewer people to have to park far from campus or walk to school once hybrid learning starts.
“The free parking pass this year will be very helpful,” Walker said. “I believe that with the free parking pass option this year, it’ll allow for more people to be on time to their classes, and it’ll allow for a lot less people walking to school who don’t normally have a parking pass.”
The newsletter stated students must park in the North parking lot and specific spots in the South parking lot marked with a yellow bear. Students who choose to obtain a parking pass must also continue to adhere to the same requirements as previous years, including filling out an application and submitting a copy of their drivers license and proof of insurance.
To mitigate any risks associated with COVID-19, students must now submit their application and all required documents either electronically or by mail. But as RBHS transitions to hybrid learning and students are allowed back on campus, Sirna said the administration will plan to slowly begin handing out passes and receiving applications in-person.
“We will plan for a method for students to bring in the appropriate paperwork,” Sirna said. “We just want to get the in-seat learning started first and need to be focusing our energy on that.”
How do you feel about the new parking pass policies? Let us know in the comments below.