The nutrition staff at Kennedy high school does a lot for its students. Being a part of the lunch staff is a difficult job but COVID-19 increased the challenges. Their goal is to provide students with a good lunch to help them get through the day.
Before COVID-19 happened the school had five lunch lines that students could choose from. There were a lot of choices students could choose from and it made it easier for the lunch staff to serve the lunches.
COVID-19 caused schools to be shut down from March 2020 to January 2021. Schools may have opened back up, but lunches are not the same. When students were coming back to school their lunch was in a bag with limited options. COVID-19 has caused a lot of issues for many schools in the area with staffing shortages and an increased workload. COVID-19 also caused there to be paper product shortages, affecting the containers food is served in.
Nutrition staff also don’t know what kind of food they will have to serve the students for lunch so they cannot do early meal planning. Whatever meals arrive on the delivery truck that week are the meals students will be receiving. This only allows staff five to ten minutes to clean up the cafeteria and prep for the next lunch.
Jamie Wachal, the head cashier in the lunch lines, has worked at Kennedy for five years. Before the pandemic, she worked at Kennedy because one of her kids was a student. She enjoys working at Kennedy because it’s flexible with her schedule and she enjoys seeing students grow from freshman to senior year.
Wachal hopes that when students come to lunch that the staff gives them the best lunch they can and students should try and take a break from class, get away from social media, and talk with friends before they have to go back to learning.
“It’s very stressful out there with social media and everything, it’s nice to just come down and take a break,” Wachal said.
Wachal and other staff agree that Kennedy has a great building, however, we can help staff by throwing food away and picking up the messes we make. It can help them save time and energy if we throw away our food containers and not leave trash on the tables or floor.
“I just hope you guys just realize we’re down here. We’re just trying to give you the healthiest meal to fuel you for the day.”