Eating in the Midst of a Pandmic: Is It Safe?
By: Rebeccah Flesichmann
As the clock inches towards 1 pm, my body aches for food. Yet, I persevere through my stomach rumbles and growls until school ends. Being hungry is a small price to pay for not catching COVID.
According to Lindsey Leininger, a public health researcher at Dartmouth College, “Indoor dining is risky. I cannot say that more forcefully.” A Stanford study analyzing cellphone mobility data from 10 U.S. cities from March to May found that eight in ten new infections arose from restaurants, cafes, and other crowded indoor venues. How is eating in the classroom any different than dining in a restaurant? In both places, you are in an enclosed space with little ventilation. Since COVID-19 spreads through airborne transmission, it simply isn’t safe to eat in restaurants or class alike.
Let’s dive into an in-depth analysis of the safety concerns associated with the other eating locations at Conard.
Certain teachers don’t allow eating in the classroom, yet eating in the hallway also brings safety concerns. Often, during a break, several students step into the hallway to eat. These students eat and talk next to each other, with no regard for social distancing. Similar to eating in the classroom, eating in the hallway is a risky move.
Other teachers opt to take their classes outside (weather permitting, of course). As long as students stay six feet apart, eating outside should be safe. The general scientific consensus is that outdoor transmission is rare. Whether aerosol transmission is not as dangerous in the new variants from the U.K., South Africa, Brazil, and Spain is unknown. As they are significantly more contagious than SARS-CoV-2, scientists, such as Professor Lawrence Young, Virologist and Professor of Molecular Oncology, University of Warwick, are now advising against taking off masks outside.
As the virus continues to mutate and spread, we do not know what the future will hold. Thus, we should do our best to stay safe by not eating in school. We must keep our masks on during the school day for ourselves, our families, and the sake of our school community.