McKensie Kappel | Reporter
Lunch for students is an escape from other aspects of school. The cafeteria can be chaotic: kids yelling at the top of their lungs, seats filling with students trying to find a spot, and some students getting up whenever they want; however, a lot has changed for the cafeteria due to the implications of COVID-19 and the new procedures it has brought with it.
“The extra cleaning really is just wiping the chairs with the tables. We were already wiping the lines, tables, handrails, and any surface a student may have touched after each lunch with a bucket of sanitized water solution,” said Avon’s Cafeteria Assistant Manager, Amber Smith.
Many challenges have arisen with the new safety precautions.
“It would be nice if the students wore their masks at all times in the lines. We have a problem with them not being on correctly or pulling them down to tell us their student ID number because they don’t have their ID with them,” said Smith. “That puts us at risk to have a student talking directly to us in close proximity.”
The new seating chart in the cafeteria has also been put in place to help students social distance and keep both the students and staff safe.
“It helps to know where students are and aren’t sitting when cleaning all of the tables and chairs,” said Smith. “In the ALC we have the students flip over the card on the table where they’re eating so we aren’t wiping tables that haven’t been used. At the end of the day we wipe all whether used or not.”
Preparing the food served during lunch is also a new challenge among the cafeteria workers.
“We have to bowl/boat up all unopened food items and put toppings into containers with a lid,” said Smith. “During the hybrid schedule, we have closed several lines due to only having half the students.”
Smith said that everything is pretty much normal on a regular bell schedule except everything self-served has been taken away.
“We have eliminated all self-serve items like: entree toppings, rolls/breadsticks, pizza, French fries, etc. We’re also not serving self-serve hot coffee in the mornings either,” said Smith. “If you touch an opened food container and change your mind, we throw the item away. We have taken away all keypads at the register.”
Smith said she believes that taking these extra steps, such as removing serving utensils or handling food less, helps to stop the spreading of any germs between students.
“I’m confident we can help the students feel safe to eat in our cafeteria,” said Smith.
Photo by Elshadai Aberra