The New Lunch Schedule and How Students Have Adjusted

After a year of tremendous change, the return to in-person learning also brings a new lunch schedule that is here to stay. In the span of the first three months of school, students have been fast to adjust to the new lunch schedule but are still curious about the reasons for this change. 

Before, lunch was at the end of the school day from 12:46 to 1:16. Before the start of the 2021-2022 school year Principal Tara Powell officially decided to integrate the new lunch schedule into the middle of the day as a first and second lunch that are dependent on a student’s 5th and 6th period. This change was first proposed by the previous Principal, Tam Larnerd, and finalized starting at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. 

 ¨When I arrived in July, the lunch schedule was up in the air about the end of day, or in the middle of schedule, what we quickly found out was that all students were going to be fed free breakfast and lunch [this year],¨ Powell said.

The reason for this change was due to the federal nutrition guidelines to make school nutrition easily accessible. The National School Lunch Program that operates with CCSD has made lunch for this school year available at no cost to all students within the district.

Federal nutrition guidelines must be followed, which means lunch must be served between the hours of 10 and two, ¨ Powell said. “And due to the federal nutrition guidelines, it had to be put back in the middle of the day, which is the best for kids because that gives the children all the ability to access free meals.¨

Even more locally, CCSD liability guidelines for the safety of students were another big concern leading to the new lunch schedule.

“[Due to] The district guidelines if you release students, prior to the end of the day, you could be personally liable,” Powell said. “We are no longer allowed that, because it’s good for kids to be here, and their safety is important.”

With the rapid growth of the student population, it was clear that one lunch period or nutrition break in the middle of the day would be more chaotic than anything else, according to the administration. 

¨We’ve grown so much, we almost have 2600 students on campus, and having them all at one lunch just wasn’t feasible, so they’ve split it between two.¨ Behavior Mentor, Michael Wabel said.

From a behavioral perspective, Wabel shares that lunch in the middle of the day helps students in their classes throughout the day, since they are not going through all the classes hungry. This then also aids in limiting a lot of the students’ behavioral issues.

The new lunch schedule has also brought forth many procedures that students are both skeptical and thankful for.

¨ I was very skeptical about having two lunch periods in between classes, but it turned out good,¨ said Senior Valeria Santibañez. ¨I guess it’s not too bad. I can actually eat lunch now, instead of just going home.¨

The implementation of QR codes at the beginning of the year have shown early success from the administration’s perspective and skepticism from the student’s perspective. 

 ¨We have added the QR code so that you can count traces that has been extremely helpful,” Wabel said. 

Skepticism about how often the QR codes would be used was among the concerns students had about the new Covid procedures. 

¨I do think the majority of students follow [QR code guidelines], however there’s a lot of students who sometimes are in the hallways or in the main quad sitting on the benches because it’s too crowded.  Senior Jazmin Perez Ruvalcaba said. I don’t think that it’s followed like it was intended to be.” 

Despite the pros, some students still miss the benefits of last year’s lunch schedule. 

¨I would be able to go to work earlier, I’d be able to get up to my shift on time, everything would just work out better and I think most students,¨” senior Adam Sterling said.