Lunch rotations fail to adhere to social distancing measures

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Photo by Jason Stein '22

A typical crowded cafeteria kitchen during lunch wave one

Jason Stein ’22, Staff Writer

Walking through the cafeteria in wave one or two to grab Jerk Chicken, I often forget whether I’m a student or inside a pack of sardines. It’s no surprise that oftentimes, lunch can get really busy as a rush of students scramble to get their long-awaited meal. However, I find it ironic that page 9 of WPS’ Reopening Plan states that “additional space needs” have been implemented to maintain social distancing in the cafeteria kitchen. 

I do not mean to suggest that we should not be slowly lifting mitigating measures. However, this has been an ongoing issue that only has more prevalence now that everyone is back in person. Other than the two turnstiles that remain at the entry point of the cafeteria, very little social distancing procedures are being enforced to prevent overcrowding during lunch. Many times, I even see students take off their masks to eat their food in line because of how long it takes to check out. 

Many times, I even see students take off their masks to eat their food in line because of how long it takes to check out. ”

— Jason Stein '22

According to our school’s profile, Staples has a student population of approximately 1,700 students. That means that with our current three-wave lunch rotation, around 560 students are in the cafeteria at any given time. However, if we were to break up lunch into four waves, that would make it so that a maximum of 425 students would be in the kitchen per wave. 

The implications of this, of course, would be that we would only have 25 minutes in total of lunch. Nevertheless, by adding another wave, I argue that we are recovering the five minutes lost by not having to wait in long lines. In short, students will spend less time in lines, more time eating, and also have better social distance measures.