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  1. #1
    acmom is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Default Would you be comfortable w/ this lunch set up at school?

    Our school is returning to more in person days in a few weeks. Kids had been at 6ft masked in the classroom and will now be at masked at 3ft (head to head not desk to desk). My biggest concern is lunch. Some grades will continue to eat at 6ft in cafeteria or other large rooms. But some, including one of my kids classes, are scheduled to eat in their classrooms every other day and will only be 3ft head to head for eating with possibly plastic barriers added (although currently our district doesn’t seem to have enough of these to make that work for everyone). I really want to feel ok with sending my kids back for more in person learning but this particular 3ft lunch set up is making me uneasy. We have not done in person dining at all- in restaurants or others’ homes so eating inside in general already makes me worried - but the 3ft makes me really worried, especially bc all the cdc and state guidance I see still says 6ft for inside dining.

    Curious to hear how other schools are doing lunch and if you would have concerns with this 3ft set up.

  2. #2
    jgenie is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    My DC have been in person full time since the beginning of the year. They eat lunch in a variety of places - classroom, hallway, dining room, outside, in tents in mild weather. They eat two to a table but I think the tables are probably closer to 4 ft of separation and I’m not sure how that works out with tables backing up to each other. We have not had any transmissions at school - cases have occurred outside of school either through play dates, sleepovers or carpooling. We are quite a bit stricter than most other families we know. I was nervous at the start of the year but it has been fine. One of my DC had lunch at the same table twice with a child who tested positive. A family member had lunch and shared food with a person who tested positive later that day. Neither my DC or my family member tested positive. I know they were extremely lucky.
    for Carmen

  3. #3
    ahisma is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    It would depend on the COVID data locally. We're in Michigan, where things are awful, and my kids will be home mainlybecause I'm not comfortable with lunch.

  4. #4
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    My kids have been back full time since mid Oct. They eat with their entire grade level in cafeteria with normal seating, no rules as far as talking or whatever besides they aren't supposed to get up, but they have assigned seats and are with the same "pod" of kids that sit at their table in the classroom. (Also not any real spacing besides that they wear masks.) Teachers have been mixing and matching pods for at least a few months now (group projects, now "book club", they also had a debate with different teams all for my fourth grader.) My fourth grader did have a kid that he had lunch with end up with covid so their whole group was quarantined and they all ended up being fine. I didn't get DS tested as he was asymptomatic but I would guess that in our family of 6 someone else would have shown symptoms if he had really gotten covid from the kid. (This was in November.) Even with bad community numbers it has worked out okay so I'm not sure I'd worry too much. Now indoor soccer with no kids wearing masks? That still makes me cringe a little, but lots of kids, including my own...are doing it and so far okay. (DS3 has been playing indoor soccer since January but during the day when he's out of preschool so a lot fewer kids and kids that generally aren't in school or daycare, DS2 just started indoor soccer league on Monday..) The leagues are pretty much full (and have been since sports came back this summer in our area) and then these kids go back to class and whatever and honestly still haven't really seen an explosion of cases from kids.. We waited until January to sign anyone up and only very hesitantly but we are in the minority.

    ETA: I just asked more specifics from DS1 and he said their table has 8 seats but only 6 kids sit there, the rule is that "if you can space out, you have to" but usually with only 2 empty seats they can't/don't. I looked and their school has had 2 positive cases in the last week which is pretty average. (Spring break was 2 weeks ago). The most they've had this school year has been around 8 and that was in early December. (Possibly when DS was quarantined/exposed.) Their school has around 700ish kids I think, K-6.
    Sorry to digress but the lunch stuff wouldn't bother me too much at this point only because it's worked out okay for us. (Back in August I would have thought this would be a disaster, and I'm still unsure about how the variants will affect things but so far okay..)
    Last edited by AngB; 4 Weeks Ago at 06:31 PM.
    Angie

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  5. #5
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    Closely watching this thread. My two youngest (9 and 12) have been in-person since January and it has gone relatively well. However, as I posted a last week or so, the school had more student quarantines because of outside school exposures in March than the rest of the year combined. DD ended up in a whole-class quarantine right before spring break. Each class is a strict pod and they eat in classrooms so I have the same concerns as you. They are 6 feet apart still but I'm not sure how much difference that really makes vs 3 indoors for an extended time. We are worried about sending ours back next week after spring break given the increased cases in children and travel.

    I'm overall feeling pretty optimistic right now for kids being vaccinated and getting back some semblance of normal but worry about getting through the next few months. Curious to hear others' thoughts.
    Mom to Two Wild and Crazy Boys and One Sweet Baby Girl

  6. #6
    klwa is offline Ruby level (4000+ posts)
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    DD2's teacher asked all parents to send in blankets or towels so they can eat outside most days in order to not have the 3' issue during lunch. My older two, I haven't heard how the school is planning to deal with the 3' issues for lunch. I'm not overly happy with the 3' guidelines in general based on some things I've heard from my kids about how their peers are acting, but I'm hopeful that lunch being as short as it is (kids have 15 minutes of mask removal during lunch period, total) it won't be too big of an issue. I'm much more concerned with the kids who "have to pull their masks down to answer questions." (The main offender for that one is the son of a teacher, and it's my understanding that he doesn't get reprimanded probably at least partially because the other teachers don't want to offend their colleague. I'm friends with his parents on Facebook and they're both anti-maskers.)
    -Kris
    DS (9/05)
    DD (8/08)
    DD (9/12)

  7. #7
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    What you describe is our school's setup since August, but they do have dividers they pull out and place on their desks for lunch. While separation was greater in the beginning, more kids have returned to in person. It is greater than 3 ft, but not as much as 6 now. I wouldn't say I'm completely comfortable with it, but the lack of any in school transmission helps.

  8. #8
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    In NY we are still mandated to maintain the 6ft distancing. Some schools are overriding that and doing less than 6ft but with plexi barriers. My 5th grader eats in her classroom with plexi barrier on her desk and my 8th grader eats in the cafeteria, not 6ft, but plexi barrier between her and others. I personally would not feel comfortable with eating 3ft head to head (which is probably only 2ft between bodies) without a plexi divider between the diners. CDC still considers a close contact as someone closer than 6ft for greater than 15mins, so unless lunch is only 15mins, then this would be a close contact situation and I wouldn't be comfortable with that.
    Mom to two amazing DDs ('07 & '09) and a fur baby.

    Gluten free since Nov '11 after non-celiac gluten sensitive diagnosis. Have had great improvement or total elimination of: migraines, bloating/distention, heartburn, cystic acne, canker sores, bleeding gums, eczema on elbows, dry skin and scalp, muscle cramps, PMS, hair loss, heart palpitations, fatigue. I'm amazed.

  9. #9
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    I would NOT be ok with 3ft head to head for meals. We're maintaining 6+ ft whenever maskless. All meals are outside unless it is raining hard then meals are in the cafeteria, gym or they split the class into locations and limit eating times.

    Day 1 of everyone back was super windy and slightly drizzly .... that was interesting for sure.
    dd1 10/05
    dd2 11/09
    and 2 cocker spaniels

  10. #10
    mmsmom is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    3 feet is not ok when masks are off. My DC private school just went from 1/2 time for middle and high school to full time. Elementary has been full time all year but 1/2 class sizes. School warned that at full capacity they can not maintain 6 foot distance but can follow new 3 foot distance guidance for classrooms. However lunch is still 6 feet and mostly outside. BUT, even though the guidelines for distance have changed, the guidelines for what constitutes an exposure have not. So school warned to expect more quarantines and sure enough there are currently 3 positive students which meant over 60 kids in quarantine. They contract trace (assigned seating everywhere) so anywone within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes over 24 hours is a close contact. Previously there would have been 6 feet and not many that needed to quarantine. Out of 100 cases at school this year only 1 is suspected to have been transferred at school. So I’m not expecting anything will happen with these 60+ kids but it’s the trade off for full time school. Not that kids are more at risk but that following guidelines means more quarantine.

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