Open Campus Offers Pros and Cons


Sophia Rauchle

Orono is a closed campus, meaning that students are not permitted to leave during the school day.

Orono is like the majority of high schools across the U.S. that have a closed campus for students. Some students would like to have an open campus here to have more freedom during lunch and free periods, but there are still rules associated with this policy. Having an open campus does not give students a free pass to leave school grounds whenever they please, and these open campuses are still monitored.

An open campus means that students have the freedom to leave the school campus during a free period or lunch hour. It is very clear that we have a closed campus at Orono; no students are permitted to leave the buildings unless they have a pass to do so.

“The school operated on a traditional schedule and there isn’t time for students for students going in and out and getting back to class on time,” associate principal Caryn Boyd said.

Safety is the number one priority at Orono. The staff and administration want to ensure that the students are in the building are safe. With an open campus, it is more difficult to monitor where the students are. There is also a higher chance for students to get in an accident if they are trying to leave campus quickly to get lunch.

“I’ve been principal of a building with an open campus and it was very dangerous,” Boyd said, “students would go out lunch and with a shortened time kids were racing around and there were accidents in the parking lot.”

This system puts trust in the students, but many people could abuse this privilege. There is an increased chance for students to ditch school if they already have a permitted opportunity to leave campus.

It would be nice to have an open campus, but I know the school has their reasons,”

— junior Ana Cole

However, there are advantages to having an open campus as well. According to ConnectUS, it allows students to learn responsibility and interaction. If a group of students left for lunch, they are also responsible for coming back to school. The open campus system puts a great amount of faith and trust in their students to use this privilege responsibly.

“It would be nice to have an open campus, but I know the school has their reasons,” junior Ana Cole said, “we could take a break from school and have more freedom,”

An open campus system would also allow a way for students to be social and spend time out of the classroom. The open campus policy would allow students a break to be social with friends, or a break in structure from the normal school setting that students are in for the entire day.

Another reason that many schools allow their students to leave campus is to get a healthier lunch. According to ConnectUS, an open campus lunch allows varied lunch options, and for students that have certain dietary needs it could be helpful.

On the other hand, an open campus lunch can also promote unhealthy eating. If students are rushing to get a quick lunch, many would be more inclined to stop at a fast food restaurant. According to the Public Health Advocacy Institute, many schools have certain requirements that they must comply with in regards to school lunches. This means that schools are required to give students nutritional lunches.

“The lunch options at Orono are limited and lower quality and if we were able to leave campus we would have the ability to fit dietary needs and have a variety of different foods to choose from,” senior Maggie Brick said.

Considering that Orono has short lunch periods, only about 30 minutes, students have limited options to get back to school on time if they choose to go off campus for lunch. According to the Public Health Advocacy Institute, the availability of food is one strongly correlated to food choices in adolescents. With only a short amount of time and limited food options, Orono students could be facing consequences of the open campus policy.

The closed campus policy that we have implemented at Orono will most likely be staying for a while as the open campus option draws many safety and attendance concerns.