Who’s hungry? School revamps lunch plans

New protocol brings pre-pandemic eating one step closer


Rahdin Salehian, Features Editor

Along with changes to scheduling, classrooms, and clubs during the 2020-21 school year, students also lost mac and cheese, a salad bar, and a grill-your-own-sandwich station in efforts to keep the community safe. As the Upper School (US) returns fulltime this fall, Dining Services hope to take the community’s lunch experience one step closer to normal, Director of Dining Services Keith Jones said.

“I look forward to seeing students enjoying their lunches like [they] did in the years past, and we are not nervous at all [about COVID],” he said. “I plan to coordinate the lunches so that we are providing great food to our community.”

This year’s menu will feature some of last year’s pre- packaged lunches and some of the hot lunches served before the pandemic, Mr. Jones said. The school plans to reopen the US Servery Room that previously housed all food. While Dining Services plan to serve a daily hot lunch option and the pasta bar, they will prepackage the salad, yogurt, fruit, and deli options.

The grill-your-own-sandwich station will remain closed due to safety concerns.

“With students literally standing over [each other] and flipping and doing all of that stuff they would do to grill their own sandwich, it just opens us up to too many opportunities for someone to cough or be over someone else’s food,” Mr. Jones said.

The school has added new options and machinery to the beverage machines, he added, so that students, faculty, and staff can access selections through a touchless system that uses a motion sensor to detect glasses.

The school also plans to switch to only disposable and compostable dishes and utensils. All students will eat in the Commons—an option they started exploring with the school’s summer camps—during two 25-minute lunch periods at 11:30 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. As of August 29, the school was still planning the best seating and distancing guidelines for safe eating, Director of Student Support Services Kim Gold said.

Mr. Jones said he hopes that everyone in the community has learned how important it is to wash your hands this past year.

“My rule of thumb has always been we should wash our hands before we eat and after we eat. I just hope that if anything comes out of this, people who have been forced to wash and sanitize their hands [during the pandemic] just keep doing it, no matter what happens. No matter how good things get, people should always wash their hands before they eat and after they eat.”

Dining Service also plans to offer breakfast items in the morning, including prepackaged cereal with single- serving cartons of milk.