Students from all shapes and sizes rush out of classrooms at the first, sweet note of the bell, only to wait under the hot sun when in line for lunch. At James Campbell High School (JCHS), students experience this on a daily basis as in person learning resumes this school year. Prior to the pandemic, the sight of students waiting in line for lunch would be expected, but now it holds a different meaning in terms of the length of time students have to wait for. Other lunch related issues have also sprouted as a result of the pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) waived breakfast and lunch meal fees for all students enrolled in Hawaii public schools, as explained on the Hawaii State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) website.
With this in mind, there are over 3,000 students at JCHS, which resides on 38 acres of land. This is approximately the same size as 29 football fields. These numbers hold significance because of a key fact: at JCHS, there are currently only three kiosks, which includes one at the cafeteria, T-building, and Saber Hall.
Connor Reine, a senior at JCHS, said, “We need more lunch stations where we can pick up our lunch because I’ve noticed that there are less of those around campus rather than when we were on campus previously. For the sake of kids not being lined up back to back and actually being able to get lunch, I think we need to have a way where all students who want to get lunch can get lunch.”
However, the lack of kiosks around campus are mainly a result of construction and the shortage of lunch staff at JCHS. The ongoing construction is forcing the lunch staff to have to adapt the placement of their kiosks to avoid places where the construction is happening, explains Lorena Cadelinia, the cook for the JCHS lunch staff. Cadelinia said, “But besides the construction, as soon as we have enough staffing, we would love to open by K-building, J-building, G-building, and D-building.”
However, the pandemic has also affected how students consume their lunch after receiving it. As certain buildings are closed off for seating purposes during lunchtime, such as the cafeteria and Saber Hall, alongside some teachers not allowing students to eat in their classrooms for safety concerns, students are forced to seek other means. This includes a common sight of students standing outside buildings, sitting on the cement, and groups that huddle together, with the majority of the time failing to meet social distancing protocols.
As the pandemic continues on, many issues continue to remain surrounding JCHS’ current lunch situation. With key aspects ranging from a shortage of kiosks to a lack of time for students to consume their lunch, this gives individuals some “food for thought” surrounding the topic.