Administrators Endorse Outdoor Lunch Option


Photo by Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

Even with colder temperatures, administrative staff acknowledges that students enjoy eating outdoors and plan to expand outdoor seating.

Jack Lewellyn, Staff Writer

On Sep. 8, students returned to an in-person schooling schedule. Among the changes made to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the district, Legacy’s administrators now allow students to eat outside the cafeteria during their lunch period. Assistant Principal Leonard Cousins developed plans that expanded this change for future school years.

“We’re going to keep trying to improve our handling of the new rules,” Mr. Cousins said, “and improving outside lunches is a large part of that.”

While students may eat outside the cafeteria either on the grass and pavement or under the overhang on a bench, Mr. Cousins believes more tables and space can be allotted depending on the success of this year’s outside lunch option. Concerns over weather have made it more difficult for students to go outside, though.

“I don’t think the weather will fully stop us from giving this option,” Mr. Cousins said, “but colder temperatures could be a deterrent for students wanting to try it out.”

An average of 40 students choose the outside lunch option every lunch period despite the cold temperature and high winds of winter. For senior Timothy Lowe, however, the weather is not the only big factor in going out.

“[Weather] can make or break whether we go out or not,” Lowe said. “To me, it’s safer and makes it easier to talk with your friends, so why aren’t more people doing this?” 

Ideas from administrators and future meetings could possibly expand lunch options.

“We need to be able to trust our students more,” Mr. Cousins said. “Moving forward, we could maybe even give seniors passes to eat somewhere off-campus.”

Students are normally assigned a lunch seat at a specific table to allow for COVID contact tracing.  No consistent supervision is given to students who eat outside, and they must self-report any contact after a COVID-19 case is confirmed. Assistant Principal John Contreras has helped make the changes necessary to ensure student safety.

“We’ve had to make a couple changes to how we make outside lunches work,” Mr. Contreras said, “but our students have all been responsible in reporting their own contact tracing.”