COVID-19 creates new cafeteria set up

This+is+the+new+seating+arrangement+in+the+cafeteria+for+the+2020+school+year.+The+cafeteria+looks+very+quiet+and+empty+due+to+the+individual+desks+and+the+reduced+number+of+students+attending+to+lunch.+

Photo by Ella Hamilton

This is the new seating arrangement in the cafeteria for the 2020 school year. The cafeteria looks very quiet and empty due to the individual desks and the reduced number of students attending to lunch.

Ella Hamilton, Social Media Editor

This 2020 school year is already unlike anything ever seen. One of the many differences is the cafeteria. Inside the cafeteria, students see individual desks spread out six feet apart so the contact between students is limited due to the CoronaVirus.

Traditionally, the cafeteria and lunch is a time during the day for students to socialize with their peers. During this period of time students get a little more freedom and space in the cafeteria. However, due to the CoronaVirus, this is not the case. With having 6 separate lunches and an option to leave the school, the cafeteria is a lot quieter. 

“I can speak to my own reaction when I walked through the first time and saw how it was set up, it’s very different. It’s very different from what I think about as being in the cafeteria of groups of students together, having conversations, you know, whether it’s sharing food or whatever it is. And so to be six feet apart and sitting around individual. To me, that has to impact how it goes, it’s far more isolated,guidance counselor Becky Hopper said.

Senior Madilynn Hayden added, “sometimes it feels good to be on my own” while she was talking about eating in the cafeteria.

The cafeteria is unlike anything SAHS has seen before. There are individual desks replacing the long rectangular tables and circle tables. Each desk is placed six feet apart and they are scattered throughout the cafeteria. 

“It changed a lot, the desks look different and the seating arrangements are weird.”  senior Mahamed Yusef said. 

Hayden added,“It does feel different, but I think it’s fun for me because I can be like spread out, I spread out and not sit by people that I don’t really know.”

It does feel different, but I think it’s fun for me because I can be like spread out, I spread out and not sit by people that I don’t really know.”

— Madilynn Hayden

When looking at the cafeteria, individual desks are thoughtfully placed six feet apart so the contact between students is limited. However, the desks are on wheels, which means that it would be hard to keep each desk six feet apart, especially with high school students. 

“I’d say there are a few that get a little closer and, you know, you might mention something to them and they’re pretty respectful about going oh yeah because I really think people don’t do it necessarily on purpose, some might,”  physical education teacher Paula Harrison said.

This year, the  U.S. Department of Agriculture will waive all fees for school meals until December 31, 2020. At the high school there is also the option of taking home a lunch if the student is leaving early. 

Hopper said she’s happy that students can have the option to stay whether it’s for food or time in school.

In order to keep the lunchroom not as crowded and busy, there are six staggered lunches. This is needed to keep the capacity of the lunch room a good number that follows the guidelines. Classes have a specific time increment every five minutes, this will keep the flow of students limited and allow the cafeteria to open up.

“Now, so we have six lunches this year instead of having four. I imagine a huge piece of it was about capacity and about helping create the safest experience, and the safest opportunity possible for students that are staying, Hopper said.

“The social impact is huge because you can only have a few people with you, your friendships I believe are your connections which are going to be smaller, because of the inability to have larger groups. So that’s going to have an impact and what happens in the future. I would hope you could get back to a little bit bigger groups but when people start doing that it’s going to change, I think people are just going to change,Harrison said.