Why Are The School Lunch Blocks So Short?

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There is one common phrase I hear from students throughout OJH, “Lunch is way too short.” Most students claim they need a longer lunch time because it isn’t long enough for them to finish eating. Unfortunately, this change simply can’t happen.

Last year, at one point each lunch had between 25 and 27 minutes but only four lunch periods were offered. Due to OJH’s rapid influx of new students, each lunch period was overflowing and students had trouble getting seats. The lunch line was filled to the brim and by the time students got their lunch, they had barely any time to eat.

There was only one lunch line, one checkout line, a lack of people to work in the kitchen, and a very compact amount of students for each lunch. All of these issues were acknowledged, the staff did their best to get them fixed. More lunch ladies were hired, an additional lunch line was added, and an additional checkout line was created.

The only solution to the overflow of students, however, was to cut a little bit of time out of each lunch to add a fifth lunch. The duration of lunch was changed from between 25 and 27 minutes down to 23 minutes long.

Most students think this is too short, so they created an idea to extend the duration, which is to take time out of classes and put that time into the lunch block. According to Dr. Link, this can’t work because of requirements from the state of Missouri that require students to have a specific amount of time in each core class.

In summary, this means that the school lunch is as long as it can be with our current enrollment and can’t be extended, and it probably doesn’t even need to be.

The reality is the amount of time given is adequate for eating lunch. Studies show that the average K-12 student takes between seven to ten minutes to eat. So maybe the complaints are really about students not getting enough time to socialize with their peers rather than to eat lunch.