New lunch, new opinions


Photo provided by: Grace Stoker

Students like senior Maddie Watts enjoy B lunch, the new middle lunch created to space students out during COVID-19, at the back of the cafeteria. “I was really content with having B lunch since that’s when I would normally eat lunch at home,” Watts said. “I also have lunch with a few of my friends, which is definitely an added bonus.”

Faith Shimick, Staff Reporter

Coming back to school during a pandemic will inevitably bring changes, one of which being the addition of a new lunch. In previous years, the first lunch (A) was at the beginning of fifth period and the second lunch (B) was at the end. This year, A lunch remains at the beginning of the fifth period, but B has been moved to the middle of the hour, with an added lunch, C, at the end of the period. 

The three lunches are a county-wide policy implemented to keep students safer, letting each school enforce it as they will. It was designed to limit the number of students in the lunchroom at once. At the Patriots’ Pointe Cafe seats are separated by taped X’s. However, students often ignore them, choosing to sit closer to their friends. While controversial, it makes following suggested health guidelines easier and the campus safer for all involved.

 “I think splitting lunches into three instead of two does make me feel better,” senior Maddie Watts said. “With another lunch option, I think it lessens the amount of people at one time. It definitely makes me feel less anxious about sitting down for lunch.”

Principal Brian Blasewitz feels for both students and teachers affected by the middle lunch. He acknowledges the hardships that come with having lunch in the middle of a class, but many teachers are doing a great job with adjusting to the new schedule. Rachel Shaw, who teaches chemistry fifth period, is taking it in strides.

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“I’m trying to chunk what I’m teaching into smaller sections,” Shaw said. “If we do some conversion problems in chemistry then I try to either have the students work on those problems during the first 20 minutes of class, then we go over that the second 20 minutes, or else if they have homework then they’ll come to class with questions, then I’ll go over the questions in the first 20 minutes and try to end at the 20 minute mark and then pick up when we come back from lunch with something else.”

 It is easy to understand why teachers would have difficulties with B lunch. Lunch is the time for socialization and relaxing for many, making students resistant to going right back to class, which can anger some teachers.

“I’m sure that they’re not happy. That was the biggest piece of feedback I got when we released the bell schedule and said that we were going to three lunches,” Blasewitz said. “I mean, I get it. I was a former reading teacher and so I can’t imagine starting class, going to lunch, and then trying to pick up where you left off. It’s quite difficult. I get it.”

Many teachers have been encountering problems with accommodating their lesson plans for a break in the middle while continuing to teach what they need to, but most are finally adjusting. One thing she attributes that to is her students.

“It’s definitely been a challenge, but not nearly as challenging as I was expecting,” Shaw said. “So, I was expecting it to be a lot more difficult to get students to stay on task when they come back in. I was thinking it would be more difficult for me to try to plan something like that. It’s actually been easier than I was expecting. It’s going a lot better than what I was expecting.”