Students have mixed feelings about lunch this year


Maddie Wells

Students in lunches this year are assigned to tables by themselves in order to maximize social distancing.

Maddie Wells, Staff Writer

This year at Hayes, school has been unlike any other year. Lunch especially has seen some drastic changes. 

With guidelines from the CDC that schools have to follow, there have been drastic changes from how it was last year, and the students and staff feel that change.

Assistant principal Adonis Bolden, who regularly advises all three lunch periods, said he notices how big a shift there’s been due to Covid-19. 

“It’s definitely a 180, this year things are creepy and eerily silent,” Bolden said.

Sophomore Kylie Magaw also feels the difference between this year and last year. 

“Lunch is tremendously different, but I’ve noticed there are different outcomes for everyone,” Magaw said. “For people who enjoy their alone time, those 50 minutes alone aren’t so bad. But for the people who like to be social, those same 50 minutes aren’t going to be as nice for them. There are different perspectives for everyone.”

This school year, there are no current plans for Hayes to go back to a “normal” lunch. 

“Is it something I think a lot of students would desire? Absolutely. But from a health perspective and a society perspective, I don’t know if that would be what’s best,” Bolden said.

Students are required to sit one person per table with the tables all spaced out so that students are six feet apart.

“I think with everything happening we probably couldn’t have had a ‘normal’ lunch, however, I feel like one person per table could’ve been compromised to 2-3 people per table,” Magaw said.

Students are six feet apart to ensure that students are as safe as possible.

 “Guidelines by the CDC dictate that since the mask comes off, it presents more of an opportunity for saliva modules to spread,” Bolden said. “As students are eating, laughing, and talking, it enhances the possibilities for those droplets to spread, which would further increase our probability of spreading the disease. We want to err on the side of caution and on the side of health.”

Since students are so far away from each other, it makes it difficult for social interaction to happen. Oftentimes, people have to talk louder than they normally would just so they can have a conversation with their friends.

 “It gets awkward having to practically yell and have everyone else hear your conversation,” Magaw said. 

To limit people coming into contact with Covid-19, Hayes has narrowed the number of lunch lines this year to one line whereas last year there were seven different lines. There is only one main meal for everyone and it changes every day. 

“I miss the lines from last year because there was a much larger variety of choices,” said Magaw. “However, with having fewer people in the cafeteria, the lines are much shorter than last year which is good.”

Each lunch period is 50 minutes long due to other classes happening at the same time compared to last year when everyone was either in a house period or in a lunch period. This leaves students with an extra amount of time where they can chill out, work, or study.

According to Magaw, there are people, such as herself, who enjoy talking to peers while eating lunch. However, due to students being six feet apart, it makes it more difficult to do so causing lunch to not be as entertaining.  “Sitting for 50 minutes alone with different expectations than we’re used to is hard to adjust to,” Magaw said.

Senior Ashley Ivy would have taken open lunch, which was an option for juniors and seniors to use their house and lunch period to go out and get food wherever they please. However, that option was taken away to reduce the chance of the virus to enter the building. Open lunch was a big part of the upperclassmen’s lunch experience, especially for those in their senior year.

 “I definitely miss open lunch. I feel like [senior year] is being taken away from me because I can’t really do anything, but at the same time I’m glad we are able to be [at school],” Ivy said.

Even though the current situation in Hayes for lunch is not what most people think to be ideal, it’s the best option health-wise to keep the staff and students as healthy as possible.

“I know it sucks, but at the same time we’ve got to not worry about the feelings of one or two or a handful of students,” Bolden said. “We have to take into consideration the safety of all of our students both in the A cohort and the B cohort and also our staff members.”