How COVID-19 is Affecting Our Cafeteria

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Students follow new protocols for the cafeteria.

Aaron Lattner , Staff Writer

As every Upper St. Clair student that chose the hybrid option knows there have been many changes in school. This especially includes the cafeteria. I’m sure that everyone has seen the arrows on the ground to direct us and the stanchions on the entrance to the different lines. But what we don’t see is what happens behind the scenes with our hardworking cafeteria employees. Our lunch ladies worked hard even before COVID-19 but now with restrictions put in place by the school they have to be very careful when they do their job. In order to get a better insight into the changes the workers have to endure I reached out to a couple of them through email. 

Mrs. Sullivan, has the title of Nutrition Center manager. Mrs. Sullivan understandably said that,“The biggest and hardest thing for all of us is preparing the Grab and Go meals for the hybrid and remote students.” I personally have a free mod directly after lunch and I have seen the lunches piled up. Moreover Mrs. Sullivan explained the number of bagged meals is going up each week, “causing us to work long hours and it’s very physical lifting and standing all day.  This week coming up we have to do 12,110 meals in addition to what we serve the kids in school.” This is again something that us as students are not completely aware of as we only see the work they do at surface level. 

Mrs. Lee, a Nutritional worker who has worked at the school for six years going on her 7th. Mrs Lee. told me, “ [We} Have always maintained a strict cleaning schedule but have increased our efforts in this area. All handles on coolers etc are wiped down on the hour including the metal that you set your lunch on until you reach the cash register.” It is a comfort as a person that buys lunch everyday to know that the workers are taking extra precautions to keep the area as clean as possible. She also added the fact that they have to wear masks, they serve condiments separately, and the fruit and vegetables are now served with lids on them. 

Now that we can hear directly from the workers we can get a better understanding of what the cafeteria crew are doing differently because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both women said that the biggest challenge was probably packing the Grab and Go lunches for the unexpected number of people getting them. This is a great reminder to thank our lunch ladies after getting  lunch from the cafeteria or from the pickup.