Food for Thought


Justice Broadnax

QR Code on Lunch Tables at Menchvile High School

Recently, Menchville changed its the daily schedule to include an additional lunch period. Principal Bobby Surry confirmed that the change was made to reduce the number of students in each cafeteria during lunch and improve accuracy with contact tracing.

The traditional lunch schedule had 2 lunch periods: Students either had first lunch (followed by class) or class (followed by lunch).   During lunches, around 700 students would be in the cafeterias at a time.

The new lunch schedule has three lunch blocks: first lunch (followed by class), class (second lunch) class, or class(followed by third lunch). Seventeen classes were impacted by the new split lunch, ranging from electives to core classes, but the number of students in the cafeterias was reduced by approximately 200. In addition to splitting lunches up, QR codes have been added to tables. When scanned, students submit their student number and table number for contact tracing. 


Impact on teachers:

With this schedule change, teachers had to adjust their planning and time management. According to U.S. History teacher Julia Eichenlaub, her lunch schedule remained the same after the change. She said that although adjusting to a new schedule is challenging, it was necessary for proper social distancing. When asked about the impacts it had on her teaching, she said that no major changes were enacted. However, she felt impressed by her students’ ability to be flexible with all the changes. She believes that creating the perfect lunch schedule is a tedious task that is above her pay grade. 

Crystal Ellis, English teacher, said having the split lunch in the middle of the class has been a challenge. Ellis says that the pause in the middle of the class gets the kids “wired up from lunch and makes it hard to get them back on track.”  When the kids do come back from lunch it feels like she has to restart the class. Sometimes students come back to class late, or not at all. The students in her class are struggling with the schedule change because they tend to lose their momentum and focus when they have to leave for lunch. She expressed that the ideal lunch for her class is the third lunch.


Impact on students:

It wasn’t only teachers that were impacted by the changing lunch schedule; students also felt the effects.  

David Ellington, Class of ’25  said his schedule changed from first to second lunch and he thinks that having a new schedule is inconvenient and confusing.  He’s been lost multiple times and says the hallways remain crowded even with a reduced number of students in the cafeteria. He believes that the original lunch schedule worked perfectly fine. 

A senior originally said she had the first lunch both days and now she has the second and third lunches. She likes the new schedule compared to previous years because it provides more space in the cafeterias. Her year so far has been overwhelming due to switching between virtual and in-person classes. Ideally, she believes that lunches should remain broken into three segments; however, seniors should be able to leave for lunch as they have in the past.