New Lunch Room Rules and Restrictions

Changes rolled out mid-November to help with space and alleviate teacher stress

Rendering of SHS Cafeteria. Source: Lavallee Brensinger Architects
By Jacquelynn Butler, STAFF WRITER

Due to COVID-19, Sanford High school has come up with some new rules in the cafeteria for the safety of the students.   

Up until mid-November, students were able to eat in the Main Cafeteria, the Small Cafeteria, the Agora area, and under the main building stairs. The first change removed the ability to eat on the Agora Stairs, the second removed the Agora area completely.

Teachers with lunch duty have reportedly struggled with managing the students across all areas of the lunchroom. Behavioral issues have been up this year and it’s been a more daunting and exhausting task than years past.

“Before COVID, we never used the Agora”, said Troy Watts, assistant principal. “We just started using the Agora for space, but  because students would sneak off during lunch, we removed it to keep a better eye on the students.” 

According to some lunch duty teachers, it has been difficult to cover all areas to ensure students do not leave the lunchroom early. Students must also be wearing a mask any time they are not eating, especially if they leave their seats.

The only bathroom permitted for use during lunch is the bathroom between the PAC and the Competition Gym.

So far, the change in rules has seemed to ease the chaos that ensued during lunch. 

“What I have seen so far has been a good change because the noise levels aren’t disruptive,” said Aaron Tremblay, fellow assistant principal. “The agora was never meant to be a part of the lunchroom, it was originally for presentations and everyone in the cafeteria keeps the noise lower.”  

Some SHS students were questioned during lunch if they agreed with the rules. Most students said they didn’t agree with the rules without much of a reason. 

But one freshman said, “I did like eating on the agora with my friends, but I don’t really think it is meant to be an eating space. The other kids make it really messy up there.” 

Tremblay noted the mess often left behind by students, “Nothing that annoys me more than seeing students at the end of lunch leaving their trash behind for someone else to pick it up.” 

Tremblay also mentioned that, since moving more students to the main cafeteria, behavior of students has improved and fewer are seen wandering around when they should be in the cafeteria.

Lunch duty teachers have reportedly noticed a difference since these changes, noting less stress while covering their designated areas. “[The changes] seem working well when someone appears to be working on duty,” said Watts.

With these changes, students still get to socialize during lunch but it doesn’t feel like everyone is as far apart or hard to monitor. 

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