Last school year, due to COVID, Belmont Hill reopened with a boxed lunch program. In this new program, students would order their lunch in advance through a Google Form sent out 2 weeks in advance. Options were limited and repetitive to start; however, by the end of the year, more variety in the types of sandwiches, wraps, and salads were introduced. At the beginning of this school year, Belmont Hill took on a prepared buffet style. Students are able to go to the lunchroom at designated times where they can pick up the similar types of prepared and packaged foods as last year.
There have been several positives to the new lunch format this year, the first one being that there is no need to fill out a Google Form to select your lunch choices for the entire week. Although this might be a small change, it eliminates the possibility of forgetting to fill out the Google Form and ending up with no school lunch for a whole week. Moreover, since students are given the opportunity to fill their paper bags with whatever they want, the number of combinations have increased exponentially. For example, it was impossible last year to have a salad and a sandwich at the same time, but now it is perfectly within your reach to include both for your lunch. Not having to deliver each boxed lunch to each advisory location like last year has also opened up the possibility of ice cream, and this is evidently a pro to the new lunch format. In addition, there has been a recent change to Upper School lunch where students are permitted to get lunch between a wider time period, instead of having to wait for a specific time at the very end of the school day.
Although there have been many pros to this year’s new lunch program, there is still much to work on. The biggest con has been the continued lack of hot lunch, which used to be a staple of pre-COVID Belmont Hill life. The students continue to miss signature hot meals such as Thanksgiving dinner, General Tso’s chicken, and paninis. In a similar way, sit-down lunch is still nonexistent. Sit-down lunch was a time for students to get to know each other across the grades and teachers whom they would have never met in the classroom. This year, without any official assignments, lunch is eaten either inside the classroom and buildings or outside. This approach lacks the opportunity to connect with peers at the lunch table and take a break that is fully detached from school life.
To sum up, as for our personal opinion on the new lunch format this year, we think it is much better than the boxed lunches last year, but there are a lot of aspects that could be improved upon, such as a wider variety of options. However, it should be noted that the lunch program goes hand in hand with how serious the situation with COVID is, and there is not a lot of room to implement new changes, especially at Belmont Hill, until the pandemic gets under control.