Cross Currents: Should students be allowed to eat indoors?

The Channels Opinion Pages | CROSS CURRENTS

Illustration+by+Alloy+Zarate%2C+2020

Alloy Zarate

Illustration by Alloy Zarate, 2020

Melanie Janicke and August Lawrence

School is back in session. Thanks to safety guidelines we are able to return to in-person classes and meet with friends indoors. However, eating inside is not allowed. Is this rule justified, or is City College being too cautious and implementing excessive rules?

 

Melanie Janicke, Staff Writer

We are finally back on Campus, but that doesn’t mean everything is back to normal.

Due to COVID-19, students are no longer allowed to eat in the cafeteria or classrooms — and that’s perfectly fine.

I graduated high school during lockdown and I was delighted to hear that there would be in-person classes again at City College this fall semester. 

It feels like a big step towards a normal life again, which we all long for. Nevertheless, my health is still my number one priority.

That applies to physical health as well as to mental health.  

Several studies show that the risk of COVID-19 infection increases significantly when being indoors, compared to outside.

The virus spreads through aerosols in the air. Aerosols can be distributed by talking, singing or eating. Wearing a mask inside at all times is a very simple and effective way for us to be able to live our on-campus life again, without endangering our health. 

I guess every one of us suffered in our own ways in the past year. The lockdown and the new rules restricted not only our personal lives, but also our educational lives. 

Being able to talk to the teachers face to face or meeting other students and helping each other out should not be an undervalued aspect of academic success.

Being back on campus is a great chance for all of us to profit from that in all kinds of ways. 

For me, wearing my mask during class and eating my lunch outside in the grass with an ocean view seems like a price I’m happy to pay in order to be in-person again.

Nevertheless, I can understand the other side’s point of view. Going back to normal life as it was before COVID-19 would be desirable.

However, a pandemic won’t disappear overnight just because we are sick of wearing masks. 

The returning progress is all about small steps like vaccinations or the Healthy Roster, which will help us move forward. It’s a process that we have to endure, but at least we are all going through that together. 

 

August Lawrence, Opinion Editor

I was psyched to return to in-person schooling and anything resembling normalcy.

However, City College went too far and was being nonsensical when they forbade eating inside.

Upon returning to classes on City College campus, I had no idea how far off from my expectations of this new-normal would be.  

Mandatory masks while being inside and daily COVID-19 safety sign-ins seemed like a small price to pay to be back on campus.

Campus life has started to resemble normality again thanks to safety guidelines set forth by City College administrators. We can now talk and meet with friends again in the middle of City College hallways and attend classes with an in-person professor. 

These safety rules allow us to do basically everything we used to do except dine indoors.

On July 28, 2021, the county of Los Angeles officially stated that as long as individuals are vaccinated and face coverings are worn then all indoor business could return to almost 100% normal. It also states that once a table is served, it’s ok for the diners to take off their masks to eat.

Los Angeles’ safety mandates, along with Santa Barbara’s, have done a lot to curb the spread of coronavirus.

It’s now completely fine in Santa Barbara County to walk into a restaurant fully masked only to then take all face coverings off to eat.

However, City College has lagged behind.

We’re allowed to purchase food from and convene in the cafeteria, but eating inside is not allowed.

If students are vaccinated or exempted, which all students must be by the Oct. 1 deadline, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

Pushing students to eat outside has bad effects on the campus itself.

Gardens, sprawling lawns and other scenic spots on campus are slowly being filled with half eaten food, discarded wrappers and litter.

Eating inside, where most rooms have a trash receptacle, makes it physically easier to throw away food by keeping trash inside and off the ground.

City College’s safety mandates are for the health and benefit of students and staff, but the call to outlaw eating inside was an overstep and should be revoked.