Students share their opinions on lunchroom crowding during pandemic

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Credit: Milo Turner

Senior Noah Doerschler, junior Wolfgang Madonia and sophomore Jackie Balderas chat during A-lunch.

Milo Turner, Instagram Editor

With students being inside the building for the first time in over a year, Loy Norrix has had new learning curves to tackle. 

During the 2021-2022 school year, students are expected to adhere to a mask regimen while inside the building.

According to Fox 17, the plan involving how to proceed safely was announced earlier this year on April 21. Parents were given a choice: send their child to in-person classes or another year of virtual distance learning. 

With so many students opting to attend in-person, there are three separate lunch periods as in previous years. The courtyard and library have been opened up for students to eat in during their assigned lunch hour. 

Junior Grace Getachew made the decision to eat in the courtyard most days. 

¨I eat in the courtyard over the cafeteria because it’s less crowded and having a bit of fresh air is nice,¨ Getachew said. ¨If I could change my lunch period, I would change the amount of students in my lunch hour, but I understand that other lunch hours are pretty crowded, too, so it’s not really possible.¨

According to the CDC, participating in activities with others outdoors is safer than doing so indoors, as you’ll be less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 when you can remain 6 feet apart from those around you. 

Getachew is not the only student who has expressed discomfort over the number t of students in the cafeteria. 

Senior Tiara Nix explained, ¨It’s nice to sit in the courtyard because of the open air and not having to worry about the same air being filtered over and over inside. I would eat in the lunchroom if there was more social distancing involved, and we most likely will have to eat inside once the weather gets cold, which sucks.¨

Nix continued, ¨I wish that students were able to eat outside in another area, or maybe give seniors the ability to eat off-campus since the courtyard isn’t just ours anymore.¨

Nix is referring to the reservation of the courtyard for exclusively seniors in prior years. As of this school year, the courtyard is open to students in all grade levels. 

Although off-campus lunches could potentially alleviate the aforementioned crowding, this is not a policy employed by many schools in the US. 

According to the Public Health Advocacy Institute, a 2006 study indicated that over 73% of high schools had a clear, closed-campus policy. 

Senior Libby McFarlen feels strongly about changes being made to the structure of lunch hours and believes that an off-campus lunch policy would be appropriate this year. 

¨I personally think that they should let seniors go off campus and make it for seniors only. There should be a reduced amount of kids in the lunchroom overall,” McFarlen said. “They should maybe add another lunch period, although I don´t think that wouldn’t fit into the schedule as it is now.¨

McFarlen went on to express concern over the vaccination status of students at the school and said, ¨Something should be done about unvaccinated students. They shouldn’t necessarily be isolating students entirely, but keeping vaccinated students together for the break.¨

Vaccination has been approved for citizens 12 years of age or older, and the KPS ¨Acceleration Plan¨ calls for ¨encouraging vaccines for all eligible staff, visitors, and students,¨ in order to promote overall wellness, however, vaccination is not a requirement to attend in-person classes at KPS schools.