Are Staggered Lunches For Portola?


Cartoon by Shawyan Rooein and Helena Hu

Dylan Vanek, Front and Back Page Editor

One thing that quickly became apparent to sophomores purchasing lunch from the cafeteria was that it takes much longer to get your lunch than last year. With all the aisles being used inside the cafeteria, one can only image the monstrosity of the line when the school is full with four grade levels.

Many have begun to wonder how the food service staff will deal with this issue. Will they allow the line to grow until it reaches the 900 building on the other end of the school? One idea that would solve this problem would be to implement staggered lunches.

“The food service staff is willing to support the students’ needs,” food service supervisor Cindy Prunty said. “If staggered lunches are needed, then we will be able to provide them to the student body.”

Staggered lunches will allow different students to have lunch during a different times. For this to happen the administration would have to coordinate students’ schedules and classes around staggered lunches.

For example, in the Williamsburg-James City County schools they have learned to “stagger the entry and exit times within each lunch period and [make] lunch periods continuous.” This will create a less-crowded lunch line and also free up more tables for people to sit, but some student may not have lunch with their friends.

“I would prefer to have staggered lunches,” sophomore Isaiah Kamal said. “The lunch line is already very long, and there are only two classes here. I’m sure the line will be twice as long when there are four classes here.”

People prefer not to have to wait in long lines to get their food. Students’ impatience causes them to cut in line, which has prompted the school to assign a staff member to watch the lunch line to prevent people from doing so. Is the line really so long that students are willing to risk getting in trouble to save a few extra minutes from their day?

“We have timed it, and it takes six minutes for a student to get their lunch,” Prunty said.“We will continue to increase the efficiency of our operation.”

Another thing to consider is that students may be leaving campus next year to go to lunch as people start driving. A different idea might be to have an open campus next year so the number of students in the lunch line decreases.

“I will definitely be driving off campus for lunch if there is an open campus next year,” sophomore Jaineel Makwana said.

Will a staggered lunch or an open campus be best for Portola? If enough people do not leave campus during lunch, then the line will still be very long, and, therefore, staggered lunches will be necessary. Though, in the future there may be a shopping center built near our school and many students may be walking to eat lunch. But for now, I still believe staggered lunches are the best choice for our campus.