Allowing sophomores off-campus lunch is a win-win

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Sheridan Allen

The cafeteria and student center aren't as crowded with more students learning from home.

Olivia Davenport, Staff Writer

With only 68 percent of students back at Rider face-to-face this six weeks, there is an obvious reduction of bodies in the school, especially at lunch. Yet this depletion of students and other safety precautions in place, we are still overcrowded. There is an obvious long term solution: letting sophomores leave for lunch.

Allowing sophomores to go off campus has been an ongoing battle since long before COVID, but it may be the extra push we need to make it happen. With only 288 combined seats open to eat in plus the courtyard, which is useful solely when weather is decent, we need to open up more seats at Rider. Even before social distancing, lunch had been packed with students sitting on floors and in stairwells. We could clear up at least 10 percent of seats by letting sophomores leave.

While a lot of sophomores cannot drive yet, numerous unlicensed juniors and seniors leave the school to sit in their friends’ cars. Also, this change would be an improvement if/when social distancing is no longer vital and we have all of our students back on campus. It will open up more seating at lunch so fewer students will have to sit on the ground.

According to associate principal TiAda Radtke, this is a district policy. Assuming the numbers are similar at Old High and Hirschi, this change would be beneficial for more than just Rider. Creating more room at all three high schools could decrease the total of student interaction which could potentially lead to a reduction of future coronavirus cases. We should take advantage of these simple yet effective precautions whenever possible for the sake of our students.

While the argument could be made that sophomores are not mature enough to handle the responsibility of off-campus lunch, this is a privilege that can be revoked, reverting back to only juniors and seniors. But our current and future sophomore classes deserve to have this opportunity. 

And if it decreases the chances of coronavirus exposure, then it’s a win-win for everyone.