Starting this year, HR cut down on the school’s lunch period, leaving all students, teachers, and kitchen staff thirty minutes to respectively finish their meals, prepare for their next class, and feed all those in the lunch line.
This change in the lunch schedule was carried out for many reasons. “The change was sort of two-fold. The first piece was CEE audited all of our hours across the district, the contact hours. We have an obligation to meet a certain number of contact hours where you are with a teacher, and we didn’t; we were way short. Even as of the very beginning of this year, we were still somewhere around 20 hours short; well, that’s a number of school days. So we were going to have to make adjustments. Some of the options we had- we could have mandated all students to attend access every day. That wouldn’t have been a very popular thing for the sophomores, juniors, and seniors; they would not have appreciated that,” said Kelly Corr, dean of students and activities director.
Corr also said, “We looked into if we could extend the day, and we could extend it a little bit, but if you extend it too much then transportation gets screwy because the same buses that take our kids home are the buses that have to race over then and pick up the elementary school kids, and we’re delaying the transportation. So we couldn’t equal the number of minutes that we thought we needed just by extending the day, so we went with this lunch idea.”
As a result of A lunches now starting at 10:50 on black and blue days, the kitchen has little time to prepare food for the students. This scenario has increased student participation in buying the school’s lunches (especially the upperclassmen, according to Paula Boyle, kitchen manager), but there just isn’t enough time to get all the students their meals. One thing that Boyle said could change that is if students used Subway more often. She said, “The one thing that I wish more kids would participate in is the pre-ordering of Subway sandwiches because that would save a lot of time.”
Although it may be too late to change the schedule, Boyle said she was open to a change. She said, “If there was a way, I would love it. We are short staffed in the kitchen, so I only have the two cashiers at this point. I’m thinking of maybe having lunch available a little sooner.”
This could be helpful for not just the kitchen staff, but the students too, who are also feeling the effects of the shortened time frame.
Many are upset over the change as there is limited time for students to leave the parking lot, get their food off campus, and get back to the school before the second bell rings.
Ashley Burt, junior, is one of the students who stays on campus for lunch. She said, “I dislike it because it’s not long enough to eat and have a break between school. It’s also not long enough for everybody to get food from the lunch line because it’s so long.”
Nevertheless, the shortened time frame hasn’t just impacted those in the lunchroom, it has also affected those outside of it. More specifically, the teachers.
The teachers need their lunch breaks as well to prepare for their next class and to take care of their next lesson plans. Vanessa Blum, English teacher, said, “I also use that lunch time to email parents or students, to discuss important items with my coworkers, or simply to take a much needed break between two solid 190 minute blocks of teaching.”
Everyone: the students, the teachers, the faculty, and the lunch ladies are all having issues with the new lunch schedule. Though the heaviest consequence from the cut may actually be the safety of the students.
Blum said, “This time reduction from lunch is a safety hazard for students electing to eat off campus. We maintain and they have earned the privilege of off-campus dining; they deserve an adequate amount of time to arrive at their destination, eat, and return safely to school. The current time allotted simply does not allow for that, and I fear that the stress caused by rushing will have dire consequences.”
Danielle Black, Staff Reporter