In preceding school years, KO students were required to dress substantially formal on a daily basis; however, for the 2020-2021 school year, the dress code has been completely transformed. The dress code modifications have been one of many aspects that have been changed this year to accommodate social distancing guidelines.
As stated in the Wyvern Weekly, “students who are on campus will have to wear clothing to school that will facilitate their participation in their athletic/co-curricular activity.” Ideally, students will wear their athletic clothes throughout the day, but they are also able to express themselves by choosing to wear something else. These guidelines mean that clothes such as jeans and sweatshirts are now permitted.
The locker rooms are closed until further notice, meaning the place where students change for sports is completely inaccessible. Since after school activities are still being held, the absence of changing space did not align with KO’s former dress code. This conflict directly led to the new alterations.
“I think the biggest reason for this was very much centered around COVID and the limitations that we were gonna have for students to change into their afternoon activities wardrobe change,” Dean of Students Krista Sahrbeck said. “Without locker rooms, our hope was to allow kids to dress for the whole day, especially since we really don’t want the bathrooms to be taken up by students changing.”
The goal of the new dress code is to eliminate the need for changing for after school activities. However, there are situations where sports clothing does not fit the guidelines for the school day, such as volleyball. Although it is not permitted to change in spaces such as the bathrooms, locker rooms, and parking lots, Soby Gym is available for volleyball players to use before practice. “If there was more of a need, we would definitely be open to more spaces to change,” Ms. Sahrbeck said. “We’re really hoping to reduce the amount of need for changing, but something we didn’t think of is kids wanting to wear something comfortable that’s not really appropriate for their after school activities.”
The dress code was also partly introduced to reduce the stress as we return to school. “There was a small tug on our hearts because of COVID,” Ms. Sahrbeck explained. “There are a lot of sacrifices that students have to make to be able to stay in school, so the dress code lessening is a nice opportunity for everybody to feel more relaxed in whatever they want to wear.”
Students also share the appreciation for being comfortable while learning. “I really love having the freedom to choose what to wear every day,” senior Sydney Smith said. “It’s much easier for me to learn when I’m comfortable and I think that goes for most, if not all, students.”
Other non-athletic after school groups are affected differently, such as Wyverns Helping Wyverns or E-Sports. “I do Wyverns Helping Wyverns in the Middle School instead of a fall sport, so I don’t have to worry about having to change,” junior Macy Isenberg said. “I think it might be difficult for sports who aren’t allowed to wear to school what they wear to sports, since we aren’t allowed to change in our cars or the bathrooms. But for me and other students who don’t do fall athletics, it’s really nice to have the opportunity to wear whatever I’m most comfortable with on that day.”
While all of this is important, there is one aspect of the dress code that is absolutely crucial: masks. Masks are required at all times while indoors, and can only be removed when outside and maintaining a safe six feet of distance. “Keeping your masks on all day is super serious, especially because we all want to stay in school,” Sydney said. “To be able to see each other in person, this part of the dress code is essential.”