By: Jaclyn Kotora, Editorial Staff ‘23
With the return to full-day in-person instruction on May 17th, regular lunch periods returned to the schedule, with modifications to ensure the effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of lunches. To accomplish this, a pre-ordering lunch system was introduced to limit close contact, more lunch locations were made available for students, social distancing was enforced in all seating areas, and hand sanitizer stations were made available for students and faculty to use. In addition, corn hole equipment was set up in the courtyards during all the lunch periods. With the reintroduction of normal lunches, including new precautionary measures and formats, we surveyed the student body to see their thoughts.
In attempts to allow more social distancing, Indian Hills offered multiple locations for people to occupy during lunch. These spaces included the cafeteria courtyard, the front courtyard, the main cafeteria, senior commons, side cafeteria, the former “Faculty Lounge,” an art gallery. An overwhelming majority of surveyed students enjoyed the additional location options. Students stated:
“I liked having the ability to sit outside during lunch. It changes up the scenery throughout the day, which I appreciate, and it also seems more COVID-safe.”
“That we have more places to sit.”
“I like being able to sit outside in the front courtyard.”
“I get to be outside every day.”
The survey results also reflected that students felt that the COVID safety measures and resources were very beneficial. The general expectations during these lunch periods are to wear face coverings when not actively eating/drinking, maintain social distancing, and clean up their area before leaving. Hand Sanitizer and wipes are also made available in all eating areas to help maintain proper sanitation of hands and surfaces. The desks in the cafeteria are adequately spaced out, and social distancing is enforced in the other locations. Although students expressed satisfaction with the COVID precautions, many students expressed how they missed sitting and talking near friends during their lunch breaks.
As for the new pre-ordering system, Indian Hills introduced a new way for students to get their lunches with minimal contact. Using the app Nutrislice, students can order their meal ahead of time on their phone, and pick it up at the pre-ordering station in the cafeteria, pre-paid, during their lunchtime. Grab-N-Go lunches were also made available at “The Market” and the Main Cafeteria, offering pre-made sandwiches and salads, a hot menu option, snacks, and beverages. Most students were ambivalent between preferring the pre-order lunch or order off the regular Grab-N-Go lines. A lot of students responded that they liked this newer way of ordering because it “makes the lines shorter,” “it’s quick,” and “I don’t have to wait in a long line to get lunch that takes like 15 mins.” However, some students also expressed that they missed the old menu options:
“I miss many of the old options, specifically the fact you could make your own salads and sandwiches.”
“I miss the sandwich station.”
“ I liked the different warm food options that we had every day.”
“I wish we could still make our own sandwiches as I tend to be a picky eater!”
A majority of students rated the new in-person lunch experience to be good and appreciated all of the measures taken to ensure safety, enjoyment, and semi-normalcy. However, 91.3% of students said they preferred the previous 1-hour lunch break over the regular lunch periods. Overall, despite the many changes to make lunches safer and more efficient, Indian Hills provides freshly prepared food daily and a comfortable and safe environment for students to enjoy their lunch and are still working hard to adapt and improve anything to ensure a better experience.