Is the limited lunch seating a return to normalcy?

Students share their thoughts on return to the “normal” lunch seating

Els Krimsky, Staff Writer

When the early signs of spring began to show back in March, the JC administration made the decision to close the Upper Gym as an option for seating during students’ lunch periods.

Initially, this was not a concern among JC students as the warmer weather brought by the spring season would allow for outdoor seating in the courtyard and bleachers soon enough. However, Maryland’s inconsistent forecast has put a halt on outdoor seating, leaving the majority of students with their only option of seating be the cafeteria.
The transition from having everyone with the same lunch period in the cafeteria from the previous spread-out model has not been the easiest for students.
Brooke Carroll, a freshman who exclusively has the freshmen-sophomore lunch, commented that “It’s becoming a social issue.” Furthermore, Brooke explained, “People get really aggressive over the seats, and it becomes hard to find a spot to eat.”
Besides the social dilemmas, some students find the cafeteria too small to fit everyone into one lunch period. Sophomore Khaya Carter said, “It is too crowded. I want the gym to open back up,” emphasizing the big change from having lots of open space to a much more congested environment.
Even though the crowded space has been tough for some students, some understand the circumstances the school is in.
Junior Kenzie Currey feels that “[the cafeteria] is just really overcrowded,” but she also recognizes that “the weather is not really great right now,” meaning students are left with less options.
While the sudden lack of space has not been received positively by the entire student body, the reality of the situation points towards something much more meaningful.
The thought process behind closing the Upper Gym as a lunch location was done to open the space back up for physical education classes.
This has allowed students to be in a more familiar and convenient environment during class time, but even more importantly, the shutdown of the gym represents a significant move away from COVID restrictions in the JC community.
In the first semester of the 2021-2022 school year, students were allowed to eat in the upper and lower gyms, auditorium, cafeteria, and outdoors if the weather was cooperating. Eventually, outdoor seating was taken away due to the colder weather, but then the auditorium was closed as well. Slowly, JC seemed to be returning to its ways prior to the beginning of the pandemic.
The fact is that even though the limited lunch seating may seem inconvenient now, it is really a symbol that JC is moving in the right direction.
The school community is becoming more united after almost two years of virtual, asynchronous, and hybrid learning, obstacles that every member of the JC community worked hard to overcome.