A couple senior boys toss a piece of scrunched up paper through a pizza box basketball hoop as light-hearted debate and trivia games ring in the air.
Students turn around in their seats to face their friends, take out their phones and enjoy chit chat with fellow peers.
A teacher logs off the classroom and quiet lingers in a cafeteria as many students begin to pull out unfinished homework.
These are reportedly some of the experiences of high school students during Eastern Christian’s newly begun “inside lunches”.
With the winter temperatures starting to kick in and the inevitable rainstorms and wet days approaching, Eastern Christian High School, in light of COVID-19 made a decision in the middle of the school year to initiate inside lunches… where high school students stay indoors with their second block classes and eat, considerably socially distant from one another. When asked about their thoughts and opinions of inside lunches, students had a variety of differing opinions...
“Inside lunches are necessary, even if they aren't my favorite part of the day... Only being able to stay in one classroom might seem frustrating because we can't see our friends, but it gives us an opportunity to talk to other students we might not have talked to,” high school sophomore, Jaclyn Steenstra said.
“When you’re outside and eating lunch you can socialize with other people. I eat lunch with people who aren’t in any of my classes, so I don’t get to see them at all during inside lunches. So socially, [outside lunches] are a lot better,” stated Timothy La Bianca, high school freshman.
When asked about what different things each student does during inside lunch, many painted vivid pictures of the contrasts of different rooms and how each group uses the time to relate to other students and teachers.
“I do a variety of things during indoor lunches. Sometimes I'll simply talk to those around me, play a game with my class like Spyfall or answering trivia questions, or I'll continue school work,” said Jaclyn.
“We usually just sit around, eat lunch and talk. Because my teacher is online my second block, she usually doesn’t stick around during lunches. I do homework during inside lunches too and so do some other kids,” said Timothy.
“My second block class is already very interesting. So far, we’ve done a reading of a play our teacher wrote and watched a makeshift paper basketball game,” said Audrey Tignor, a high school sophomore.
“I usually eat my food during lunch because my 2nd block class is full of sophomores that I never interacted with. This week I actually spoke to some of them about lunch and also a bunch of other topics. It depends how I feel that day but usually eating and listening to music,” said Jari’Randha Sears, a high school junior.
When asked if there was any bonding between students during inside lunches, all of the interviewees said yes. Many different measurements of bonding were recorded but all of the students who were interviewed said the same type of things along the lines of stepping out of your comfort zone and making friends with people one usually wouldn’t usually interact with.
“I’ve definitely bonded with my classmates! It’s been nice to get to know them more in a calm setting where we don’t need to focus and we can just relax,” said Audrey.
“This week, I started bonding with [my classmates] more than I usually would. They are really sweet, funny, and supportive in different situations,” said Jari’Randha.
“In the end, indoor lunches can seem boring or inconvenient,” said Jaclyn, “but if you are willing to bond with your class and do group activities, it'll make cold and rainy days way more enjoyable.”