The lunch split

The+lunch+split

One of the more controversial changes made at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year was the decision to split lunch hours even further into quarters. This change was made during the 2020 school year partly as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, students are now asking, why is this system still implemented especially as students struggle to adjust to this new lunch system?

At the start of in-person learning last year, the school board decided to implement a drastic change to the lunch schedule. This change would see the two one-hour lunch periods being split halves with one-half of students eating while the other half is in a new period named study hall. The initial quartering was not seen with much controversy as the number of students in in-person learning was still low and within the midst of a global pandemic, the choice to further split the student lunch numbers made sense. However, as in-person learning became mandatory at the start of the 2021-2022 school year, problems with the system started to arise. With the shortened periods many students ran into issues getting their lunch in time with the lines being so drastically long. This, coupled with the shorter lunch blocks, made it so students had no way of eating their lunch. Further issues became present going forward as many students found issues with time management and studying. Though study hall does provide a period for pure studying, many students find it better and easier to study with friends or aids, usually only found at lunch. 

So if the lunch quartering presents this many issues, why hasn’t it been reverted back to its normal state? Well, the normal lunch schedule is not only a COVID-19 related issue, but it’s also a security risk. Having upwards of eleven hundred kids in one area at a time provides a significant challenge for security. Having that many students in lunch at one time presented several crowding issues, including several fights between students in the cafeteria making the split necessary for the safety of our school.

 

 

Student sentiment towards the lunch split has been less than favorable since the beginning of the year. Many students depend on their time in the cafeteria, and lowering it from an hour to only twenty-five minutes has created a multitude of issues. Most of these issues have already been listed but it is important to know that eating lunch and having valid study time is severely important to a student’s academic success. Junior Rohith Acharya states that he “can’t study or eat lunch because of the time it takes to pack up and leave”. The split also creates issues in getting lunch JuniorBenji Watry stated that “no one can get their lunch with the lines and the shorter time”. It also proves to have several social issues as many students can’t socialize as much or talk to friends that they only have for lunch. The split also divides the school’s student base in a terrible way as many students have friends in upper and lower classes who they can not and will not be able to socialize with. All this goes to show that the opinion towards the lunch quartering among students is a bad one which will only lead to a worsening state. Because of the lack of enforcement of attendance during study hall, many students have decided to just skip the class altogether opting for a traditional lunch, worsening the state of lunch further.

Even though this current lunch has a multitude of issues, the reasons for its inclusion are just and needed for the safety of our school. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. One solution is to revert back to the schedule in place before the hour blocks which was three forty-five-minute blocks with a third of the student base attending each. This would fix the crowding issues and allow students to study and eat for a longer time than the current system. The change would also cut down on lunch line lengths and would still provide students with ample space to spread out. Another improvement that could be made is to study hall. Currently, study hall is a pain because of the unnecessary packing and moving to lunch with most students stud hall rooms being across the school. A solution to this is making study hall classes larger and setting them in rooms close to the cafeteria such as the auditorium, the gym, or even outside. This would make the packing process less time-consuming allowing more time for studying and eating.

At the end of the day, these are just suggestions and although this system has a significant amount of issues, it is far safer than our previous schedule. However, if the school could take some of these issues into account and work to fix them, lunch may be more productive for so many.