School lunch times added, students spread apart

When students come in the lunchroom at North Dickinson County School, they use hand sanitizer, then they wait in the lunch line or find their assigned seat.
Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 3:10 PM EDT
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FELCH, Mich. (WLUC) - Across Upper Michigan school cafeterias are empty, or have lower volume of people during lunch time.

“They can be distanced from each other, they have the same seat every day,” said the North Dickinson County School’s principal and superintendent, Angel Inglese.

Before COVID-19, North Dickinson only had two lunch periods. Now, they have four which means the students are able to socially distance.

When students come in, they use hand sanitizer, then they wait in the lunch line or find their assigned seat.

“I’m in the third row over there, so it’s kind of weird,” said a fourth grade student at North Dickinson, Stetson Oman.

Even the way students wait to buy their lunch has changed.

“The lunch line is different because there’s these blue tapes, so you have to stay a certain distance from your friends,” said Oman.

Before the pandemic, students could reach and grab their food, now, lunch aids do that to minimize touch points.

“We’ve had to spread our staff out more,” said Inglese.

Lunch aids also hand out water and materials throughout the lunch time.

“But they are adjusting. We just made some changes this morning to the schedule this morning to make it easier on our staff,” said the superintendent.

North Dickinson will be adding a another staff member to take off some of the burden from the others. But one student, fifth grader Khole Folkerts, says the protocols are better than eating in the classroom.

“I like lunch time because you get to eat with your friends, you don’t have to wear masks,” she said.

After each period, tables are cleaned and sanitized, ready for the next group of students to come in. The superintendent says the change has been well received.

“It’s been a big adjustment, and this is our fourth day of school they are really getting the hang of it,” said Inglese.

Each lunch period has remained around 30 minutes, giving students time to eat.

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