The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

School Torn Between Lunch Arrangements

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Nour Khachnaoui

Staff Writer

The first day of school usually consists of a lot of stressful and confusing situations, but adjusting to the removal of Lunch and Learn was a new challenge. Lunch and Learn was a 74-minute lunch block that gave students and staff freedom to choose their activities. Although a primary benefit was giving time for students and teachers to meet, Lunch and Learn benefited students in a variety of other ways. This school year, Lunch and Learn is gone, and students are divided between 3 different lunch blocks. In its absence, teachers and students have voiced their opposition.

Having virtual school was an extensive change, and it took some time for everyone to adjust. For me, it was dreadful. Learning from home made it difficult to talk to teachers and keep up with the new material, as well as the challenge of being separated from classmates and friends. I eventually got accustomed to it and made it my norm. However, it built a lot of bad habits that made going back to school harder and more stressful.

Coming back to in-person school after being online for over a year was a struggle for most students. Although it was difficult to get accustomed to school again, I’d say that Lunch and Learn helped. The 74-minute time period gave me a necessary mental health break in the middle of the school day. In addition to a break, it provided time for club meetings, going to teachers for extra help, socializing, and eating. As school intensified, so did the importance of Lunch and Learn. Some might say 74 minutes is too long and unnecessary, but learning for hours without a long enough break can do more harm than good.

Lunch and Learn gave time for students to get into a good head space and re-energize for the rest of the school day. Sophomore Akeda Taxitiemuer said, “I feel annoyed and upset that we don’t have Lunch and Learn this year because I’m used to the hour break… Now, it’s confusing and doesn’t help with meeting my teachers. I also can’t go to my clubs that I wanted to attend this year now that they aren’t during lunch.”

The change also affected teachers. If a teacher’s class has ‘A Lunch’ beginning at 10:35, they will be instructing for almost 4 hours straight. The timing makes lunch more of a ‘brunch’ and wears both teachers and students out. Last year, teachers could also hold their office hours during Lunch and Learn. These office hours gave time for test retakes and corrections, tutoring, and extra help with new content for students. Now, with 36-minute lunch intervals, teachers and students do not have that time anymore.

AP Psychology teacher Courtney Horwat said, “I would love to have Lunch and Learn back. The vast majority of students used it well and had positive behaviors during the L&L block, and I think it helped the mental health of students and teachers. While some students did not use it positively, it was a net positive, and I would be so, so happy to have it back in the schedule.” 

Most teachers now have their office hours from 8:00-8:35 AM or after school, but some buses do not arrive at school until around 8:15 AM. This is not a sufficient time block, especially for students who eat breakfast at school. After-school hours are inaccessible to students with jobs, sports, or other obligations. Teachers, too, have other things to do. Many teachers must leave school immediately to pick up their children, go home to their families, or attend to other obligations. In the end, having office hours during school is a lot more efficient.

“Last year, I used Lunch and Learn to get my grades back up. This year I feel like not having Lunch and Learn isn’t smart, and I don’t like it. They need to fix it,” said sophomore Chase McKnight. 

The withdrawal from Lunch and Learn damaged almost everything in our school, from teachers’ work schedules, the opportunity of extra tutoring time, to clubs and other after-school arrangements.

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School Torn Between Lunch Arrangements