Open Seating Returns

Students now have choice of where to sit at lunch


As they talk during 4A lunch on Sept. 19, seniors Kyly Jacobs and Sydney Lamb enjoy their lunch in the Learning Commons. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, students were allowed to choose where they ate on a day-to-day basis; with the pandemic waning, that freedom has returned to students in the LC and the cafeteria

 Walking into school this year, students didn’t really know what to expect. Would everything go back to “normal”, or would there still be pandemic restrictions to navigate? One of the biggest changes from the last couple of years is the return of a pre-pandemic lunch policy which allowed students to choose where they wanted to sit each day rather than be confined to one spot all year long. Whether it be a table in the cafeteria, a seat outside in the courtyard or one of the many accommodations in the library students have the option to pick and choose a seat that best fits their needs. 

The system gives 30 students the opportunity to sign out for a pass to eat in the library. Rather than having an assigned seat for the whole year, they’re able to choose day by day where they would like to eat. Librarian Keri Smith enjoys the flexibility this change has brought to the library. 

“It allows us to be a little more flexible with our space,” Mrs. Smith said. “If we need to accommodate last-minute presentations [or] classes it’s not as disruptive to student’s schedules if this is where they always sit and then all of a sudden we’re like oh wait, we can’t be open today it is a little less [stressful] and helps us feel a bit more flexible.”  

While the policy has provided the library with new-found flexibility, Principal Suzanne Leake believes it has also brought back students’ ability to choose. 

“They have the opportunity to change and come and go, where previously, because of tracking for Covid we had assigned seats, so student choice was there, but once you chose you stayed,” Dr. Leake said.

Mrs. Smith understands this is a huge adjustment for students who have only known the pandemic policy but feels as if students are starting to see the benefits. 

“Sophomores and juniors who have only known eating in here, It is definitely a change,” Mrs. Smith said. “It allows us to give more people the opportunity to come in if they need a [quiet space] that can’t be [provided] to them in the cafe.”  

Staff aren’t the only ones pleased with the system, senior Cassidy Low likes being able to come and go as she chooses. 

“I’m in the CAPS Healthcare program which means I get to school about an hour before my actual lunch so, there isn’t anywhere else for me to go,” Low said. “So, Me and a friend meet up at the library [to study] and decide to eat in the library since we are already here.” 

While some students like the flexibility of the new system, senior Beth Tullock feels indifferent about the new procedures. 

“You spend half of your time sitting in the lunch line and then the rest of it trying to get a pass to even sit in there,” Tullock said. “I’m lucky because I don’t have to wait in a very long line because my class is right there, but the first week or so I had to wait a long [time] after getting my food.”