Open Campus Opportunities

Revisions to Current Regulations Could Greatly Benefit GHS Students

Principal Proclamation: Although an open lunch would be nice, there is not enough time in the day. “Do I think it would be nice to have, yes, do I think it’s practical to have a GHS, no,” head principal Mr. Todd Mueller said. “We are not built that way to have an open campus lunch. In thirty minutes we have to get kids out of class, down to the office to check out, go to their cars, drive to a restaurant, get food and have to get back to school within thirty minutes. It’s never gonna happen. Gretna does not have the infrastructure.”

The archaic set of rules surrounding the lunchtime procedure is plaguing the pupils of Gretna High School. By containing teens in the cafeteria, the school is revoking the student’s chance to practice responsibility and also prohibits them from being able to escape the constant school atmosphere, which they have to endure for seven hours a day. Additionally, with the COVID-19 outbreak, having students stuffed shoulder-to-shoulder on lunch benches increases the likelihood of the spread of the virus. A clear solution to this predicament would be to transition to open campus lunches at GHS.
Open campus lunch would teach students more responsibility and prepare them for their life after high school. Students would learn time management as they have to get back for class after lunch at a certain time, which would help teens prepare for adulthood. Accounts from students at Millard North High School, an institution that allows open campus lunches, support this claim. Junior Ally Stalzer preorders food so that she can get back to school on time. Students will be able to responsibly keep track of how much time they have to get food and get back to school so they are not late.
The constant drone of the school atmosphere also takes a mental toll on students throughout the day. By allowing teens to leave campus, they would be able to completely clear their heads and ease the stress that school can place on their shoulders. The fresh air would also be a healthy benefit that students otherwise would not have access to because under the current regulations in place, there is almost zero opportunity for anyone to go outside. The time away from school will also help jittery students release the energy that builds up while sitting in a desk all day.
Along with the chance to leave the perpetual boredom, open campus lunch would be a tremendous opportunity to limit the spread of COVID- 19. The school’s administration has shown signs that they are fearful of the spread of the virus during lunchtime. This can be seen through a recent GHS rule about wearing masks at the table after you finished eating, instead of only wearing them when you leave the table. Open campus lunches would prevent students from cramming together at a lunch table, as they would now be able to spread out and limit their time together. This means minimal contact in school, which brings the number of cases down in the building. Many students in activities such as football, basketball and one act already have to sit in a quarantined area away from the lunchroom. With an open lunch, they would be able to quarantine even better than they do at school. Along with that, if the number of cases decreases, the school stays open longer without the fear of shutting down and going completely online. Students from Millard North believe that it does reduce the number of cases caused at school in general.
Open campus lunch provides many opportunities for students to practice useful life skills that they will need to be successful adults. Along with a break from the stress of school and classes, it also offers the chance that the school will stay open longer and not close by letting staff and students spread out during lunch instead of cramming together.