School community addresses new lunch period


Fallon Dern/Chronicle

Upper School students wait in line to buy lunch during the new 45-minute block.

Julian Andreone

The school will make changes to its lunch period after experiencing consistently large crowds and long lines during the 45-minute period. Head of Upper School Beth Slattery said the school did not expect these complications when it developed the new schedule in a school-wide email sent Thursday.

“This is the very first time we have had all students and faculty on campus in our new schedule,” Slattery said in the email. “While we made lots of plans to make it work, there were things we didn’t anticipate, like the fact that nobody eats anything but orange chicken on orange chicken day and that no one would use the cafeteria in the lounge.”

Slattery said the school will implement preliminary reforms Friday, including selling food on the Quad, allowing people to skip the line if they are purchasing cold food and increasing activity in the Chalmers Lounge cafeteria. She said eventually the school plans on adding a feature to the iHW app that allows students to pre-order their food.

“First, we will have a limited supply of pizza available for purchase today outside on the Quad,” Slattery said. “All next week, we will be supplementing our cafeteria offerings with outside food (sandwiches, burritos, etc.) in order to reduce wait time. If you are not purchasing hot food, you do not need to wait in the long line. You can go into whichever cafeteria you choose and grab your to-go food. You may use any of the three cafeterias–[the] main cafeteria, Flag Court Café, or Chalmers lounge. We are working on programming the iHW app so you can pre-order hot food and pick it up in the Chalmers cafeteria.”

New to the Upper School, Whitney Enenstein ’24 said she was hurt while trying to get lunch, hyperbolically comparing the area to a warzone. She said she believes the school can remedy the issue by encouraging students to eat during free periods and teachers to supervise the lines.

“They should have teachers around the cafeteria to prevent pushing and elbowing,” Enenstein said. “I got elbowed in the head. It was like war. Everyone was moving in a clump to try to get food. All I had for lunch yesterday was rice and crackers. If one person joins the line, all of their friends come and join them. More people should go eat during their free blocks.”

Ryan Zoller ’22 said it is difficult to eat on campus due to the shortened lunch block and extensive lines. As a senior, he is able to leave campus during the lunch period and says he plans on eating off-campus at local restaurants.

“I have to find other places to eat because of [the long lines],” Zoller said. “I have no patience to wait. But I have [senior] privileges to leave campus to eat when I want to. The most realistic way [to solve the issue] is to grant more privileges to younger students and at different times.”

Math teacher Josh Helston said the long lines were somewhat inevitable but necessary to perfecting the new block schedule. He said the school is capable of fixing the issue quickly and said he believes in their efforts.

“In some sense, I kind of expected this to happen when I considered that all students would be back on campus under the new schedule,” Helston said. “But the only way to know how to fix the issue is to collect information. I have confidence and trust in the administration to fix this issue.”