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Students Speak Out in Favor of Having Two Separate Lunch Periods

WPHS Needs Two Separate Lunch Periods

by Shannon Alfonso

At White Plains High School there is a debate between continuing with a common lunch period or moving to two separate lunch periods. In the article, “WPHS Students Need a Common Lunch Period” by Gaby Maldonado the author believes that WPHS should keep the single lunch period.

I disagree. WPHS is desperate for two lunch periods.

A common lunch period can cause many problems. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, a single lunch period puts students at risk of spreading the virus. As a student at WPHS, who has experienced a common lunch and a separate lunch period, I believe that separate lunch periods are far more beneficial because it reduces the overcrowding that can cause illnesses to spread.

Photo credit: Goldstick Lighting Design

Cafeterias can get very crowded due to the 2,205 students that the school accommodates. After taking into account the amount of time that it takes students to get to the cafeteria, and wait in the lunch line, only 10 to 15 minutes remain for students to eat their meal. Research suggests that inadequate time to eat discourages students from purchasing and eating complete lunches. When they do not have enough time to buy and eat lunch, students end up buying unhealthy snacks from vending machines instead, and throwing away a large portion, or skipping lunch entirely. This can negatively impact their nutrition intake and can lead to obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention, in 2017–2018, an estimated 19.3% of US children and adolescents have obesity.

Although students get an opportunity to socialize with friends outside the classroom during a common lunch period, socialization would not be limited when there are two lunch breaks. Socialization can be done in other settings such as after-school clubs and outside of school.

Club meetings during lunch are not ideal because students and teachers are rushed and don’t get enough time to enjoy their lunch. The more appropriate time for clubs is after school hours. Similarly, when students meet teachers during lunch hours to receive extra help both do not get an opportunity to enjoy their lunch break. Not all teachers are available because some also advise clubs during the lunch common. The students should be able to prioritize meeting with teachers during after-school hours.

According to the After-school Alliance, a nonprofit organization, there were 11.3 million unsupervised school-age kids in 2014. That's roughly 20 percent of the entire K-12 population in the United States who went to empty homes after schools. After-school programs such as clubs give these kids an environment where they can spend time with friends in a safe, supervised setting.

All things considered, WPHS should have two lunch periods because it will allow students to enjoy their lunch period by cutting down on waiting in the lunch line, ensures students' safety, and allows better socialization during after school hours. It is important that you encourage and strive to make lunch exciting and enjoyable.

Two Lunch Periods is a Must

by Alison Medina V.

Have you ever gotten on a very busy, crowded, and loud train and/or bus? Have you ever been stuck in traffic for hours and felt like you didn’t move at all? That’s what the lunch line feels like, especially if you don’t get there early. During lunch time it’s survival of the fittest, okay I might be overreacting, but it really does feel like that. If you don’t go to lunch in time sometimes there’s no other food than pasta and pizza. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like eating pizza every day. This is what one lunch period does, two lunch periods would solve this problem.

Two lunch periods would fix this problem. If we have two lunch periods, the staff have more time to refill everything in-between passing time. We also have carts near the gym and pool area and near the front entrance, we wouldn’t need those anymore if we had two lunch periods. Everyone would be able to go to the cafeteria to get their lunch. If we do this everyone would be able to get and eat their lunch in time. The lunch periods would also last longer, they would last a class period which is way longer than what we have now.

It’s true that most wouldn’t have friends in their lunch periods, but teens have many other ways to talking and seeing each other. They can call, facetime, text, and hang out after school. This could be an opportunity to make new friends and socialize. Or to just get a break, I know that sometimes I need a break from everything and just need a quiet place where I can be alone with my thoughts. This would also prevent crowds, yelling and lots of fights. There would also be a lot more seating, if you walk around the school, you see a lot of kids eating on the floor because there isn’t any more seating. But what do we do about clubs? Move them to the afternoon. Some clubs can even meet on zoom if they don’t need a classroom, clubs can have some meetings after school and some online. We would also have more time for clubs if we move them to afterschool.

In general two lunch periods could help and prevent a lot of things that happen now with only one lunch period.

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