Overcrowding in the lunchroom is getting out of hand, here’s how it can be fixed

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Photo by Cameron Almonte '23

Staples students crowd in the cafeteria to get their food everyday

Have you ever been bombarded by peers left and right as if you were in a prison? In the Staples High School cafeteria, this has become the new normal. 

In the beginning of the year, manoeuvring around the lunchroom was difficult, but still possible. However, as the weeks have gone on, trying to step foot in the lunchroom has become nearly impossible. 

The first issue that comes from the overcrowding in the lunchroom is the spread of sickness. Although Covid has died down since its peak in early 2021, the virus has recently been on the rise and the overcrowding in the cafeteria isn’t helping.  According to the New York Times, Covid cases in Westport during the end of last school year never topped 400 a day, but during the second and third week of school, specifically on Sept. 13, there were over 800 cases in a single day reported.  That means there has been an increase in overall Covid cases in Westport compared to last school year. 

With the majority of the school going maskless, sickness is bound to spread in the cafeteria. With the cafeteria being a first-come-first-serve type of process and food being served in a buffet style, it means that the spread of sickness is even more common.

With the majority of the school going maskless, sickness is bound to spread in the cafeteria. With the cafeteria being a first-come-first-serve type of process and food being served in a buffet style, it means that the spread of sickness is even more common.”

— Cameron Almonte

The second issue that comes with the overcrowding of the cafeteria is the stealing issue that has been on the rise the last few weeks. Every time I walk into the lunchroom, I see another student smuggling food into their pockets, whether it’s a protein bar, a cookie or an entire $6 plate of sushi. “On one occasion, I did see someone steal from the cafeteria.” Jacob Serfaty ‘23. 

Not much is being done about the issue other than a security guard coming into the area where food is paid for, but it’s incredibly difficult to catch students stealing food if there’s 100+ kids to keep an eye on at a time. 

A fourth lunch wave would solve both of these issues.  With an extra lunch period, there would be fewer students in the cafeteria at the same time and it would result in less congestion.  This would then reduce the likelihood of spreading Covid and make it easier for the security guard to keep an eye on kids. Although classes would have to be five-minutes shorter to compensate for the new lunch wave, the benefits outweigh the negatives by not only improving students physical health, but reducing the rate at which students steal.