Due to COVID-19, eating in non-designated spaces creates difficulty in contact tracing. Considering how the removal of masks while eating is necessary, Principal LaNisha Paddock said she is concerned.
“It is impossible to contact-trace when a student is outside of the cafeteria spaces that are designed for food,” Paddock said. “It becomes a real big safety and health concern if students are traveling with food in the hallways or eating in the classrooms.”
According to Paddock, students shouldn’t eat or drink in hallways or classrooms unless otherwise directed. Junior Ella Wasvick said she believes that eating in classrooms and hallways isn’t a safety issue if students are at a distance,eat something small and remember to put their mask back up.
“If they are eating something small and keeping a little distance in classrooms while eating, I don’t think that it would make a huge difference in COVID(-19) cases,” Wasvick said.
However junior Shannon Weeks said he agrees with Paddock and thinks that eating in class will make a difference in COVID(-19) cases.
“I’ve been told by a few teachers that we shouldn’t eat in class, never personally but the teacher has had to tell other people and I don’t think that we should be allowed to,” Weeks said. “It’s a big COVID(-19) risk and just a bad idea.”
According to Weeks he has noticed that more people aren’t wearing their masks over their nose or mouth. Which puts other students and teachers or staff at risk even if they wear their masks correctly.
“I feel like there’s a good chance that we will go back to all online with how many people are getting sick,” Weeks said.
Assistant principal Jessica Busse said teachers have been reminding students to follow the rules in order to stop students from eating in classrooms.
“It’s really a concern about the health and safety factor that we have to be aware of (in) our community,” Busse said.
In regards to bringing outside food into school, Busse said she would prefer that students eat it in the designated eating areas.
“It’s not the food that they have a problem with, it’s that students have to take off their mask to eat or drink,” Busse said.
Weeks said that students can wait till lunch but if they’re really hungry then they should have a big breakfast.
“I think that eating in hallways can be a COVID(-19) risk if there are big groups of people. If it’s one or two people by themselves, not close to anyone else, then it’s not that big of a deal.” Weeks said.
According to Paddock, if rules are not followed by students, there are plans set in place to regulate further issues.
“If we see a bad pattern in a particular student, having a conversation with their family and where we have seen things like disrespecting the community or throwing stuff around,” Paddock said. “They get community service where they are asked to help out in the cafeteria.”