Students chow down new lunch options


Kyler Allred

Sophomore Kacin Allred waits in an empty lunch room for his friends to join him. Due to new guidelines, students are recommended to socially distance themselves and wear masks whenever not eating.

Lunch is arguably the best time of the school day. Students are able to take a break from school and hang out with friends. As Perry returned to in-person learning, many students wondered how lunch was going to look and how these new safety guidelines were going to affect their time. 

These differences were not at all subtle, students are now able to receive a free lunch and breakfast everyday, social distancing is strongly recommended, and masks are required at all times (besides when one is eating). In regards to the food, Senior Aceson Hale said that the “food is pretty good and I stay so that I can eat and talk with my friends, even though I could leave after fourth hour.” In previous years, lunch has been thoroughly enjoyed and this year should be no different, if anything it may be better, as proven by an Instagram poll, in which students voted in favor of the new cafeteria food. 

Here at Perry, a very pressing question is at mind… Why the free lunches? In answer, Jon Stonecipher, a CUSD80 food nutrition supervisor, has stated that, “The USDA has passed a law that allows us to be able to give universal free year round lunches,” Stonecipher then went on to say that this new policy is very similar to that of the free summer feed program, because during the summer, the school likes to “support families that are in need and who do not have the funds to purchase meals … by providing a free meal pickup,” and now that the nation is in this hardship, the program continues to serve students free meals.

Principal Dan Serrano, also speculated that the free lunches may have been a result of an abundant amount of money placed in a reserve for free lunches, “because in the last school year a lot of kids were not on campus, eating like normal, so there are some available funds.” Later, Serrano proceeded to confirm that the free meals will continue throughout the school year.

Junior Claire Chavez, says that “ I feel absolutely safe at lunch because of the new rules that have been put in place.” Lunch should be a time to have fun and relax in between classes, not a time to worry and stress. Though lunch is supposed to be a time of enjoyment, many still worry. The ongoing pandemic has some students feeling uneasy. With so many students at Perry, it can be very difficult to keep a safe distance in the cafeteria and at lunch tables with friends, this often results in crowded spaces. Safety during the provided lunch time is a very important issue, but there is only so much that the administrative staff can do, Serrano has maintained that, “social distancing at lunch is up to the students to help with,” placing emphasis on the fact that students need to take responsibility for their own safety and health. Even through the mandates, lunch seems to be a more enjoyable time to take a break from school and socialize with friends.