The Problem With The Cafeteria


The south gymnasium during the A lunch period. Photo courtesy Kayla Jackson

When it comes to Covid-19, H-F  has many protocols to keep its students safe. From smaller class sizes to strict mask policies, H-F is committed to stopping the spread of Covid-19. However, one area that seems to have been pushed to the back burner was the cafeteria.

It’s clear that the H-F administration made an attempt to make the lunchroom safer for students, but it’s also clear that the attempt failed dramatically. The lunchroom is a perfect example of a good idea, bad execution and it seems to get worse as the days go by. 

In an attempt to make the cafeteria Covid safe, H-F  administrators decided to take out the tables that were previously in the lunchroom and replace them with smaller compact tables that all face the same way. In addition, they are allowing half of the students to eat lunch on the bleachers in the gyms. 

But the most intriguing thing about this decision is that the cafeteria itself isn’t the issue, the gym is. In the north and south cafeterias, students can sit right next to their friends with no issue. Although there are dots to indicate where students should or should not sit, they are often ignored. 

The CDC recommends that there should at least be six feet in between children when unmasked and indoors, which applies to cafeterias. In the gyms at H-F, students are barely a foot away from each other, and almost always go unreprimanded. Not even the Covid procedures measure up to the CDC guidelines, as the dots that show students where to sit aren’t six feet apart either.

From not being Covid safe to being extremely contradictory, The new H-F lunch procedures are also a huge waste of money. Instead of just using the larger round tables and the longer folding tables that were previously used in the cafeteria, the H-F administration chose to buy several small folding tables and chairs, limiting the amount of children who are able to eat lunch at a safe distance. 

Even though it can be assumed that the tables were bought with the Covid stimulus money that was provided to H-F, this money could have gone towards other things. The school could have purchased more gym equipment to limit the amount of cross contamination or more easily accessible sanitization products for students. 

H-F has taken the initiative to make the school extremely Covid safe, but why was the cafeteria an afterthought? Covid safety is thought to be a major concern at H-F right now, and the cafeteria should be treated with that same regard.