Lunchroom regulations

Our Position: LT needs to better follow all state of Illinois COVID-19 restrictions in order to keep the lunchroom a safe and healthy place for all students.

Lyons Township High School has started off the 2021-2022 school year by welcoming students back to in-person learning and by encouraging students to socialize with their teachers and peers again. However, some members of the LT community have raised concerns about the safety in the lunchroom. With the spread of COVID-19, especially the rise of the delta variant, the state of Illinois has outlined certain restrictions to keep the virus under control. However, LT has struggled to follow these rules, making the lunchroom a potential COVID-19 hotspot. 

The most recent COVID-19 prevention strategies from the Illinois Department of Public Health include wearing masks when indoors and keeping three feet of physical distance between all individuals. Although the school requires students to wear masks, the lunchroom goes against multiple regulations from the public health department, including the lack of contact tracing. Contact tracers allow faculty to track which students have been in contact with COVID-19 and who needs to quarantine. Since there is no seating chart and no way to know which students have been in close proximity in such a large lunchroom, the contact tracers are practically useless. 

Despite the rising concern that LT may not be able to do accurate contact tracing in the lunchroom, the school administration is doing its best to keep students virus free. At both SC and NC, there are multiple designated tables for additional eating spaces, as well as outdoor seating which many students choose to utilize. Moreover, SC releases students about 30 seconds to one minute early in order to clear the hallways and prevent large groups from forming. Both North and South campuses use extensive cleaning tactics to sanitize the tables and seats. 

Even with all of these methods the administration is using to keep the lunchroom under control, the regulations set in place by the Department of Health are still not being completely followed. With no contact tracer and no masks while eating, the concern of students contracting COVID-19 increases. The lunchroom is filled up with almost 500 students each lunch period. Despite being released a minute early, the crowd of students piles up immensely and the three feet of physical distancing rule is broken. With all of these factors in play, it is very likely that a student could come down with  COVID-19. They could then infect several others during their lunch period. If this happened, there would be no way to know who would need to quarantine without an accurate contact tracing effort. 

Considering all these factors, a good idea to decrease the risk of spreading COVID-19 would be for lunch administrators to create a list of who sits with whom. Another idea is assigning students a daily survey they must fill out detailing where they sit everyday. Using this list and the contact tracers would allow the administration to track the virus and alert infected students before it spreads. By following all the regulations in place, LT can become an environment where everybody stays healthy, safe and happy. 


Staff Vote: 24-1