Changes in the Cafeteria: Return of Tables

New seating arrangements garner mixed student opinions

The 2021 school year started with tables back in the cafeteria. Students have been asked to socially distance themselves, and sit at seats only where there is a black dot stuck to the table.

As students returned to Perk Valley High School to start off the new academic year, many were pleasantly surprised to see lunch tables back in the cafeteria after sitting at desks last year. The administration brought back socially distanced lunch tables in the cafeteria and auxiliary gym to allow students to interact with their friends as they once did, but the principals still had to keep the health and safety plan in mind. 

“Early in August, Dr. Russell asked us to set up two cafeterias socially distanced (3 feet) with tables so students could socialize more easily while still being 3 feet apart,” said Dr. Moss, head principal of PVHS, “With having almost all of our students back, in person desks really were not an option due to all desks being put back in the classrooms.” 

In the main cafeteria, there are a variety of tables that seat four, five, seven, or eleven students which allow friends to choose whatever table suits their group the best. In the auxiliary gym, all tables only allow five students. Black dot stickers were added to the tables as well to indicate where students could sit to still be considered three feet apart from their tablemates.

On the first few days of school, however, some students had friend groups larger than allowed at the tables, which led them to move chairs around to give everyone a seat. 

“If we see students moving chairs, they will be required to move back,” said Mr. Berk, red house principal, “In the second week of school, students will be asked to select a specific table to eat at each day. We will have students sign up for their table and they will be required to eat there each day.”

In the main cafeteria, PV upperclassmen had mixed opinions on the restricted seating at lunch tables. Some friend groups were forced to separate, leading to annoyance and frustration that they could not speak to their friends at the most social time of the day.

“We had to have a few friends leave the table because of the rules which kinda sucks,” said a PV senior in 6th lunch, “I think strictness should be lifted mostly because nobody cares about COVID anymore, and I think that everybody will be moving around regardless just like in previous years.”

On the other hand, some students did not mind the new lunch table arrangements and found them helpful to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We had to shift some chairs around to put them at the right dots, but other than that we were all good,” said junior Ananya Sudarshan.

The school administration continues to emphasize the fact that if students cannot follow the distancing dots on the lunch tables, desks will make a return in the lunchroom. Some students think going back to desks might solve the issues appearing in the cafeteria. 

“I don’t really think I would mind if we had to go back to desks,” said senior Luke Haeberle. “Desks would at least solve the problem of people stealing chairs, though I do think the black dots are an improvement.”

Students’ seats at lunch will be final after September 8th when a sign-up sheet with a diagram of available spots will be provided at each table.