San Antonio-area schools share plans for cafeteria safety during upcoming school year

Students will practice social distancing in the cafeteria

Top Left: SCUSISD, Top Right: BISD, Bottom Left: NEISD, Bottom Right: BISD (KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – It’s not just the classrooms that will look different when students go back to school in person, cafeterias will also have changes in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

KSAT reached out to several school districts after Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD shared their plans for student safety in the lunchroom in a Facebook post on Thursday afternoon.

A post on SCUCISD’s Facebook page this week stated that district cafeterias would be equipped with dividers to help reduce the possible transmission of COVID-19, in addition to other safety measures.

Most of the commenters on the district’s post were not impressed with the safety solution. Many expressed concern that the opaque barriers would isolate students from their peers, but SCUCISD spokesperson Ed Suarez clarified to KSAT that the partitions are just one of the options available and would only be used in circumstances where students wouldn’t be able to maintain proper social distance.

In the North East Independent School District, capacity in the cafeteria will be limited and students will need to practice physical distancing and follow traffic patterns. They will wear face coverings while waiting in line for food and then will sit in a “zig-zag” pattern at tables to maintain proper spacing.

“Students may have meals in designated areas other than the cafeteria so safety protocols can be maintained,” according to spokesperson Aubrey Chancellor.

Chancellor also shared the district’s protocol for health and safety during meal times. The document is attached below:

The Northside Independent School District has established guidelines for mealtime protocols but “final details will be determined by campuses once we have a better idea of how many students will be returning to buildings for in-person learning,” per spokesperson Barry Perez.

NISD does not currently have an estimate of how many students will be returning to campuses for the upcoming school year, however, Perez noted that “plexiglass barriers [have been installed] in the serving lines where student and cashier interactions take place.”

Students in the San Antonio Independent School District will be given the option to eat lunch in the classroom or cafeteria.

“Social distancing measures will be in effect in dining rooms districtwide. There will be spaces marked on the tabletops where a student may sit; and the chairs that students can’t sit in will either be removed or wrapped depending on the type of furniture,” SAISD spokesperson Leslie Price said.

Boerne Independent School District has posted signage throughout the schools and in cafeterias directing traffic patterns and encouraging social distancing. Students will be spaced apart at tables as they eat.

Spokesperson Bryan Benway shared photos of the district’s plan for mealtimes and said officials “are working on installing plexiglass on shared tables/desks and will install as many as needed.”

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.