As old school traditions have begun to fade, the once all-time favorite period of the school day has gone with it: lunch. Lunch period used to be a getaway for students to connect with friends, eat, and take a break from their busy day. In today’s world, a growing number of students have opted out of taking this break.
For some students, it’s about academics. They would rather incorporate additional classes into their schedule in order to maximize it.
“I didn’t take a lunch this year because it’s not beneficial to me. I find times to eat throughout the day and I can fit all my classes into my schedule,” junior Alyssa Hillwig said.
Dropping their lunch allows students to add more elective courses, like a music or art class. A.W. Beattie students commonly elect to not schedule a lunch period in order to fit their core classes into their split-day schedule.
On the other hand, some students want to avoid what they see as the chaotic environment of the cafeteria.
“Some students choose to drop lunch because they would prefer the opportunity to have a study hall or quiet space,” guidance counselor Mr. Mat Anselmino said.
With concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers in the 2020 school year have been reluctant to allow students to eat during class. In years past, students without a lunch period had the ability to eat in most classes with the permission of their teachers. However, this year, due to health and safety concerns, some teachers are not allowing students that option.
“The removal of a mask to eat within the classroom, especially when the student made the choice to remove their lunch, could certainly create an unwanted dynamic within the (classroom) environment and is at the discretion of the instructor,” Anselmino said.
This year more than ever, the pandemic has made this choice a larger platform for discussion. If students were worried about their safety eating alongside many other students without protection, that concern could also lead to the choice of dropping lunch.
This growing trend has left many adults concerned about the social implications of students who have chosen not to take a lunch. Without adding this break into their day, which some people believe is necessary, staff members are worried about the effects it could have on students.
“I believe there is value to the mental reset a lunch period could offer students as well as the opportunity to socialize with peers and staff,” Anselmino said.
Over time, this group of students has grown with this year totaling the highest number yet. Students opt out of taking a lunch for various reasons, all of which are a personal choice. This leaves many people wondering if this trend will continue or if the school will take a stand on students opting out of a lunch period.