The lunch table setup is causing a mess

When school began, there was a new, socially distanced alignment that kept the tables clean. Now that they have been returned to the traditional setup, trash has increased.

On December 14 as nutrition begins, a horrific sight takes place!  A group of students stand up and walk away from their lunch table, leaving milk and yogurt spilled in a goopy mess.  Grapes stand in the yogurt after some of the students threw them, making an even bigger mess.

How did we get here?  How is this possible?  It may be as simple as the lunch table alignment.

As COVID expectations changed, the lunch tables have as well.  Custodian Mr. Giovanni Aguilar changed the formation of the way they were.  When students first returned to campus in August, the tables were spread apart because of COVID expectations which were to be six feet apart.  As the realities of on-campus life evolved, the lunch tables were returned to their traditional rows.

According to Aguilar, the way the tables are now placed makes them easier to clean up.  He made the change shortly before the Halloween Dance.  Unfortunately, it also makes it harder to hold students accountable for the messy tables.  Trash spills from one table to another and irresponsible students walk away after pushing their trash on some other neighboring table.

Some students like the new setup because they have big groups, so they can all sit together without having any of their friends standing and getting in trouble.  Students who are eating are required to be seated, so the continuous, adjoining tables are better for large groups to stay together.

Then there are other students who do not like it because they have a small group. The smaller groups feel that when the big groups come, they make a mess that they do not clean up.  Then the smaller groups get in trouble.  

If the new lunch table setup is creating more trash, then the answer is simple: change it back.  That way, students who are not cleaning up can be held accountable.

While the setup that adjoins the tables may make it easier for the custodians to clean, they arguably have less to clean when the tables are not connected.  It also makes students more aware of what they are required to clean up.

I believe everyone on campus wants clean lunch tables, so move them back!