Places to Eat for Lunch: A Tasty Review


SHS students have the choice to either eat outside or inside for lunch during their in-person days.

Katherine Shi

After two weeks of contemplation and trial and error regarding where I should eat lunch during in-person days, I still haven’t found my favorite spot. But I’ve definitely realized there are far more places to eat lunch than I once thought. 

The first discussion to get past is choosing whether to eat lunch outside or to eat lunch inside. There are obviously beneficial aspects to staying inside in relation to adhering to COVID-19 health guidelines and ensuring the best possible safety for students during a lunch period. Although at first I was skeptical about even the notion of eating lunch inside a “polycarbonate barrier,” it isn’t seem as bad as it sounds. Not only are all the tables shielded and the proper distance away from each other, but the organized system of tracking people who sit in the lunchroom is also crucial for effective contact tracing. 

The locations for each lunchroom are assigned so there isn’t much to say about each: the freshman eat in the main cafeteria and the sophomores are assigned to the Learning Commons and iLab, while the juniors and the seniors have lunch in the auditorium and the student commons near the main cafeteria. As a sophomore, I’ve been eating lunch in the Learning Commons and, while it feels odd to be eating in what is essentially a cubicle, the experience isn’t as unpleasant as I first thought it would be because I can still communicate with my friends. 

On the flip side, when people go outside, there are a few major problems—the first being the lack of proper social distancing. From the looks of it, most people are sitting three to four feet away from each other and have their masks off as they eat their lunch. Although eating the sandwich you bought for lunch through your mask would probably be challenging, not properly adhering to social distancing guidelines while doing so seems dangerous considering the pandemic is still not over.

Yet another problem is how hard it can be to contact trace when there are many students congregating around benches, tables, or bleachers outside. With the inside lunchroom system’s use of QR codes and Google forms to log where students were sitting, the school could easily identify and notify the surrounding students in the event of someone contracting COVID-19. However, when people go outside, it would be difficult for the school to accurately identify who may have been affected and who may need to quarantine in the event of the same situation.

Some argue that this problem can easily be answered by the simple fact that COVID is far less likely to be spread when outside. This seems to hold true as there have not been any major news of coronavirus cases that claim the opposite, but the issue of following health guidelines is still something to keep in mind for whether or not you want to eat outside.

When weighing the pros and cons though, I find that many people prefer to eat outside so that they can communicate with their friends and return to a sense of normalcy. And, as compared to eating inside, there are a plethora of locations for students to choose where they want to eat lunch.

The first place I think about is the Brewster entrance picnic tables and benches. On popular days, those can be filled up within the first few minutes after the bell rings and if one comes late, they’ll be forced to sit on the grass, find a new location, or return to their assigned space inside the school building. Other popular locations include the gym entrance benches as well as the bleachers near the track. Although these locations are often near-vacant on cold or rainy days, on sunny days it feels a lot more refreshing to sit outside as opposed to staying inside the building.

Beyond the school, I’ve heard of and seen some people who go to the village to buy food or a Starbucks drink and then quickly return to school. However, the length of the journey to and from and limited time to eat are obvious deterrents to this lunch plan.

Though I haven’t formulated my own opinion about where the best place is to eat lunch yet, I think that it is definitely an experience to eat both outside and inside. Whether you eat inside or outside, the important things to remember are to bear the pandemic health guidelines in mind and social distance. Eat safe!