Students see changes in lunch seating arrangements

Jude Weightman and Ian Lang

At the start of the school year, Duncan Middle School students saw a change in the seating arrangements at lunch.

Eighth-grade students prepare to line up for lunch during their typical lunch period. (Cooper Beranek)

This year, sixth and seventh-graders get to choose where they sit each day. Eighth-grade started with the ability to have open seating, but lost the right when they showed they were not responsible enough, and were given assigned seats instead.

This is the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that students have gotten to choose their seats. Because of the pandemic, students received assigned seats to help with contact tracing.

Like every year, only eight student will be at each table.

Devan Johnson, eighth-grader, said he liked having open seating instead of having assigned seats, even though eighth-grade no longer has free seating.

“I like this year’s seating plan so much better than last year because I get to sit next to all my friends,” Johnson said.

He said one of the hardest parts about lunch, aside from the assigned seats, which have been in place since the second week of school, is how long it takes to get to the eighth-grade lunch period. This year, eighth-grade gets into the cafeteria around 12:45 p.m. each day.

The lunch periods are figured around class periods so classes aren’t split as they have been in other years. The first lunch of the day starts at 11 a.m.

“I don’t like how long it takes, although we can have snacks in a lot of our classes,” Johnson said.

Even though the seating chart has been put in place, the phone policy still applies. Students are allowed to have their phone at lunch time.

Another lunch-time change this year is that students are no longer allowed to sit at the tables on the west side of the lunch room. Those tables are reserved for people who get in trouble.