Starting Monday, April 22, we will be implementing some new procedures in the cafeteria. These changes are a result of our review of our safety plan through our School Safety Team along with discussions among classroom teachers and lunch duty teachers. Classroom teachers and duty teachers will be assisting the students as they learn this new system.
Previously, students sat with their homeroom classrooms during the lunch period. In October, when we received our new round tables, we changed this procedure to allow for more options for seating per grade. This provided a new way of accommodating our students with food allergies by having "blue" tables for students who brought "home lunches" to school and "pink" tables that were designated for allergy sensitive students and for students who bought the school lunch which is allergy sensitive. For the past several months, we have been working to successfully implement this new procedure which of course brought us new situations that needed to be fine- tuned.
Throughout the year, we have been actively reviewing our school safety procedures so that we can determine improvements. The open seating in the cafeteria presented a very difficult situation in regards to effectively evacuating students from the cafeteria and then accurately accounting for students. Due to our large student population of up to 300 students at lunch, we have determined that it is necessary to change our current practice of seating to provide a safe situation for our students.
The new seating will still have "blue" and "pink" tables. The difference is that students will sit with their homerooms. Each homeroom will have one "blue" table and one "pink" table. This will still allow for appropriate access for our students with food allergies. The classroom teachers will assist students in determining the appropriate table to sit at each day as it will vary depending on their lunch.
We anticipate that some students may be disappointed by this new seating procedure if they had been sitting with friends from other homerooms. We know the students really enjoyed this aspect. Please know that it was after great deliberation by the entire staff that we have come to believe this change is necessary. We will work to assist students in the transition to this new procedure and will continue to assess its effectiveness and make adjustments.
Lunchtime will continue to be a time for students to eat lunch together and enjoy each other's company. Students are certainly allowed to talk and socialize. When the noise level becomes too high, they are signaled to quiet down to a more manageable noise level for safety reasons. The noise level is monitored to assure that teachers can obtain student attention in the event of an emergency.
In the upcoming weeks we will continue to assess the effectiveness of school procedures and make adjustments as necessary. We hope that parents will support this decision as we work to provide a safe environment for our students at lunchtime.