Lunch Loss Results in Struggling Students


Maya Dawson

Many students are struggling to fit lunch into a day full of school, sports, and family obligations

       High school rom-coms make it pretty obvious what lunch is supposed to look like. The popular kids sit at a table near the window, the jocks throw carrot sticks, and that one nerdy kid eats alone. But what happens when something as ingrained in the high school experience as lunch is removed from the schedule altogether?

       This Monday, January 25th, Conifer will be reverting back to the hybrid schedule students experienced in the first semester, where lunch has been removed to limit COVID exposure. Students are expected to eat at their own homes after the school day, but this model is problematic for many.

       “I’m going to struggle to fit time for lunch into my day,” sophomore Maddie Potter said. “I have after school activities most days of the week that don’t end until around 3:30 and at that point I tend to just wait until dinner to eat.”

       Potter isn’t the only one who is concerned by this schedule change. Students suffering from eating disorders have been particularly affected.

       “My little brother has a diagnosed eating disorder and it’s been really hard for him because when you’re in ED recovery eating on a schedule is something that is really important,” sophomore Ella Johnson said.

       The school has taken steps to support students who rely on scheduled meals, but the hybrid environment makes providing this support difficult.

       “I feel like the school is very willing to make accommodations, kids are allowed to snack and stuff like that, but at the same time, not having the availability to get a full meal in can be very harmful,” Johnson said.

       In addition to leaving many students hungry the removal of lunch from the school day only separates each class by the allotted five minute passing period, which is hard on the mental health of students.

       “Lunch is nice, not only to be able to take a break from all that academic strain, but also to interact with people. Humans are social creatures, especially high schoolers,” Johnson said.

       High school is often portrayed as the most memorable and formative years of a student’s life, but the removal of lunch is yet another COVID mandated sacrifice, and students are being forced to abandon the opportunity to make memories with their friends. This time spent with friends, however, does more than provide an opportunity for students to relax during the day. Many individuals rely on the ‘brain break’ lunch provides.

       “I have severe ADHD,” Johnson said. “It’s really hard for me to sit in the classroom for so much time.”

       Though many students are struggling, others hope to make the most of the changing schedule.

       “I actually like that they’re taking lunch back out,” sophomore Jackson Davidson said. “I like to get school done ASAP so I can have the afternoon, and taking lunch out lets me have more flexibility after the school day ends.”