Pushing the Limit


Amelie Salum Rapetti

Students released at West Boca Raton High School courtyard during lunch time

Amelie Salum Rapetti, Reporter

West Boca Raton High welcomed its students back on August 10, 2021 after nearly a year and a half of distance learning. The total student count for the 2021-2022 school year is 2342; the school is operating at student capacity. The incoming freshman class accounts for 625 of those students, the most students per grade level.

Students Per Grade Level

Grade Level Number of Students
9 625
10 609
11 560
12 548


Student Perspective

The unusually large student body of 2021-2022 has not gone unnoticed. Brianna Williamson–a junior–said “it’s crowded, there’s more people than usual” when asked about the number of people at school. Evidently, the pandemic makes this student body size even more noticeable because people can’t get the space they are looking for in hallways, the classrooms, or even the courtyard. In agreement with Brianna, Michelle Tenorio–also a junior–commented that “it’s obvious when you’re walking through the hallways. It feels like you’re in New York because you are touching and surrounded by so many people”.

Florida COVID Situation

Since August started, the number of new COVID-19 cases in Palm Beach County, reported once a week, demonstrated an increasing trend; according to USA Facts, there were 851 new cases on July 30, 1,114 on August 6, and 1,310 on August 13. The total for new daily cases in Florida is at an all-time high. As shown by CDC data, the current Florida record for most daily cases was set on August 12, two days after schools reopened fully in person, with a total of 25,995 new cases. The 7-day average for daily cases reported on August  15, just before this second week of school began, was 21,614.

Hillsborough County, located in the Tampa area, also opened their schools on August 10. A mere one week after returning to full in-person instruction, Hillsborough County released a statement calling an Emergency School Board Meeting because 5,599 students and 316 employees were put in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. The alarming number of daily new cases, and Hillsborough County’s outbreak fail to indicate a promising future for other school counties, ours included. 

School Measures

Moreover, the higher student population at West Boca for this school year complicates matters by facilitating the creation of masses of people. The more popular courses are packed with students, oftentimes leaving few to no available seats in the classroom. In addition to this, lunchtime protocol forces all students to stay on one half of the courtyard, further clumping over 2000 students together when they should be socially distanced as far as possible. While lunch is held outside, it is also the moment when no one is wearing masks because they are eating. In order to try and keep cases down in West Boca students should be given the necessary space to social distance, especially when their masks are removed for eating.

Mask, social distancing, proper sanitation, and open spaces all help reduce the spread of COVID-19. To keep the students and employees safe, measures need to be taken in order to address the masses of people that are put in contact with each other in closed spaces before it’s too late.