Open campus for lunch will cause problems
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Stillwater Area High School is one of the few schools in the metro that does not have an open campus at lunch, meaning students must stay in the building and cannot leave to eat nearby. Students have been frustrated about this for a while, but there are good reasons for the closed campus.
The first good reason there should be a closed campus is that the school already has an issues with attendance. Last year, SAHS ranked third in the state for absences.
When students are allowed to leave school in the middle of the day, there could be a concern some students will not return after lunch.
One suggestion is to allow only students with good attendance records to leave. However, that would be a logistical nightmare. Patrolling who is allowed to leave or stay would be a challenge.
Another reason closed campus is ideal is because of the parking lot. When school is over in the afternoon, hundreds of students leave at the same time. Some lucky students are able to leave in a couple minutes, but most students sit in the parking lot traffic for between 15 and 20 minutes. Other schools have multiple exits and multiple parking lots to make it easy to come and go.
On the contrary, we have one massive parking lot for staff, students, and visitors that connect to congested roads through low flowing exits.The final reason that any high school is a bad place for an open campus is that businesses may not want crowds of high school students coming all at once. Businesses would have to prepare large amounts of food at one time and create spaces for students that may take away from other lunch customers.
With so many transitions next year, considering open lunch is an obvious choice, however it is not practical. Adding lunch options, additional seating, and another lunch block would better accommodate students.