OP-ED: Can Longer Lunch Periods Benefit Students? (Especially During COVID Times)

Tyah , Contributors

The Windsor school system should look into lunch periods and create a time adjustment that would have a positive impact on a students’ overall lifestyle. Creating a “crunch” time that only allows students the time to just eat, aids in anxiety and may allow other mental health issues to develop. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in 2019 that:

“Most children in the U.S. get 30 to 50 percent of their daily calories from the school lunch meal. An assessment of lunch seat-time in Seattle Public Schools found that schools with a higher student population eligible for free and reduced lunch provide less time to eat (University of Washington Nutritional science graduate students, 2015). The length of lunchtime significantly affects the health of children from low-income families since they rely on school meals for more than half of their energy intake.“  

 So how would this be if some students are still stuck right at home? Lunchtime with fifteen minutes extra for a moment for physical activity that doesn’t test your strength in front of other students but creates movement for anxiety relief could create more focused students throughout the school year and I believe can create a higher statistic in graduates in high school up to college.

 During covid-19 Windsor High had a lunch period that lasted only 30 minutes. 

With the assumption that we can just roam free in our house, doesn’t really show the efforts put in place for a person’s mental health during this time. Humans including children should be out in the sun for at least 20 minutes and should take 20 minutes to eat their meals to prevent eating disorders, obesity and vitamin D deficiency. With the schedule Windsor High has on their freshmen, from experience, the 20 minutes only leaves 10 mins to eat and 10 minutes to step outside. This is if the student is logging back into class at the exact time it is to return and the student is only jumping right back into session giving no breather to gather their thoughts or mentally prepare themselves to return back onto the computer screen. It’s obvious that this way of maneuvering in the work and school world doesn’t really create a positive environment and only fuels this survival of the fittest ideology. For societies to be better, we must adjust to the masses that we know for certain would create positivity. We must understand that there are other ways to motivate students to do better in school and that isn’t just from strict structure but should come for understanding of the individuality of students, leaving room for them to mentally prepare for the hard work that’s to come. 

Longer seated lunchtime for students would decrease the cost of food waste from US schools. Having enough time to eat lunch helps children develop their social skills; they can learn to listen, interact with others, and develop qualities such as empathy and understanding toward others. If we are home, shouldn’t we take the advantage of the fact that we can be out longer. Each class period in Windsor high school is 80 minutes. And even if it’s 4 periods, we can’t stare at our screens all day and expect it to be beneficial when students’ health can be at stake at putting their best just by 20 minute lunches.