The switch back to in-person learning has brought many changes, including dealing with litter in eating areas

Staff+member+Arlina+Wheaton+cleans+up+in+the+cafeteria+after+a+lunch+period.+Wheaton+and+other+lunch+staff+collect+litter+left+by+students+in+between+periods.+

Credit: August Crothers

Staff member Arlina Wheaton cleans up in the cafeteria after a lunch period. Wheaton and other lunch staff collect litter left by students in between periods.

August Crothers, Staff Writer

In between lunch periods, the cafeteria is littered with sandwich wrappers and milk cartons, and cafeteria staff have to clean it up. While outside, in the senior courtyard, old food and trash stays on the tables for days before being cleaned up by staff.

This year is the first year school lunch is free for all students, making it a lot easier to get lunch from the cafeteria. However, litter has been a problem in the cafeteria long before this year.

The senior courtyard, which has been opened to all grade levels, has faced a similar problem as the cafeteria. There’s not enough employees to clean up both the cafeteria and the courtyard, so it’s up to the students to keep the courtyard clean.

“It’s worse outside,” junior Braydon Buchino said while eating a PB and J sandwich. “There’s only one trashcan and people are lazy.”

Due to the littering, Principal Christopher Aguinaga has been encouraging students to clean up in the courtyard over the morning announcements and has threatened to close the courtyard if students don’t pick up after themselves. This decision would take away an opportunity for students to get fresh air during the day and easily social distance.

Although there’s staff that clean up in the cafeteria, the increased number of people in the cafeteria compared to the courtyard is significant. It can be a real problem to clean up the cafeteria to be ready for the next lunch period.

“It’s disturbing: they ought to pick up after themselves,” Julliete Tyler said, who has been working in the cafeteria in Loy Norrix for four years, before going back to collecting leftover milk cartons and ziploc bags. “We already have to wash the tables, and we get no help, they should be more responsible.”

It is not just staff who are affected by this. Some students avoid the cafeteria due to the crowds and litter. While stuck inside due to the rain, junior Henry Fields said, “It’s anarchy,” in reference to the cafeteria. Fields usually has his lunch in the courtyard to get fresh air, away from the cafeteria.

In time, students may get used to eating and cleaning up in the cafeteria and courtyard after the past year of online school.