The Cafeteria vs. Covid: How School Lunches Changed this Year


Abby Wilwerding

The Staff of the Smith Cafe have switched to a boxed lunch program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abby Wilwerding, Staff Writer

With the introduction of 25% cohorts onto campus, the Smith Family Café Staff is operating in a new way this year. The traditional weekly menu with multiple food options has been cut back and a smaller, more manageable menu has replaced it. The kitchen staff has changed their schedules quite a bit, just because of how different procedures are.

“Most mornings we arrive at 7 am, print and organize the pre-ordered lunches from students, faculty, and staff. I then give the numbers to the production team so they can make and label the individual boxes” Chef Carter explained.

Normally, the staff of the Smith Cafe are not used to this much planning and assembly.

“Pre-Covid, my day would start around 6 am to get ready for breakfast and after-school but those things are off the table for now as Prep is limiting the time students are allowed on campus” Carter explained.

Despite the circumstances, The Smith Café Staff has done their best to prepare nutritional meals.

“With the uncertainty of being open or closed, with or without faculty, staff, or students we really needed to cut down on perishable items. Switching to very limited processed foods has been very difficult to keep product on hand.”

Current lunches are $8.25 and include a sandwich or salad, chips, string cheese, a fruit or veggie snack, a cookie, and chocolate milk or apple juice.

As questions arise about how everything will look as phases progress, Carter explains that “we’ll probably keep the food services to a minimum. But as people are allowed in closer proximity, we can re-open some services as well as pre-ordering more lunches online.”

How is the Cafeteria staff feeling about it? “Overall, it’s been easier physically to prepare for food services; however, mentally we’ve had to move into a more speculative thought process, it’s a lot of what-if scenarios” stated Carter.