In this special edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments regarding coronavirus and its impact on onsite dining.
Here’s your list for today:
- Tulane building temp structures for dining and classes
Tulane University is building 13 temporary structures that aim for physically distanced in-person teaching and on-campus dining. The university began building the pavilions in July. Classes resume August 19.
According to a news release, each classroom will accommodate 50 to 80 students at a time in a “fully socially distanced manner.” They are located on Monroe and Newcomb quads, as well as the Berger Family Lawn.
The Berger Family Lawn will also be home to a new dining space that will accommodate over 300 guests at a time. The dining option will include menu items from Campus Services’ two electric food carts, as well as a serving station featuring menu items from the Commons.
- MIT to limit food vendors on campus
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) administrators held a virtual town hall following President L. Rafael Reif’s announcement that only seniors and students with special circumstances will be invited to campus this fall. Administrators discussed housing and financial decisions, gap years and leaves of absence, on-campus life, academics, the first-year experience and plans for Spring 2021.
Director of Campus Dining Mark Hayes said that all on-campus students must be on a meal plan because ensuring student kitchens are free of infection is “difficult.” MIT will also minimize the number of food vendors on campus and avoid “smaller vendors” of unknown safety.
Hayes said that Campus Dining is working with Student Disability Services to ensure students, like in previous semesters, have access to allergen-free meals. He said that MIT will implement an “Oasis station” free from all eight major allergens: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.
Vice Chancellor Ian Waitz said that super-seniors will have guaranteed fall housing and emphasized administrators’ intent of giving all students the option to spend one semester on campus. Waitz said that off-campus seniors will not be allowed to access campus facilities, while graduate students do not face this restriction because MIT wants to be “conservative” and “succeed” in the fall so that more people can be invited back for spring 2021.
- Hawaii grab-and-go school meal program served 1.3 million+ meals since March
The Hawaii State Department of Education Grab-and-Go school meals program wrapped up its final lunch service on Friday, July 17. Over 17 weeks of operation, the program provided over 1.3 million school meals for breakfast and lunch to children ages 18 or younger at nearly 80 public schools and community locations from March 23 through July 17.
School cafeterias and kitchens will now begin preparations for the new school year that begins on Aug. 4 with maintenance and deep cleaning of equipment and facilities. Students will be able to pick up their meals only at their schools of enrollment and normal payment schedules will apply. Schools that will follow Blended, Rotational or Hybrid Learning schedules will designate pick-up locations on campus where students who are distance learning may pick up and pay for meals. On-campus dining may include students taking grab-and-go meals back to their classrooms or other locations and staggered meal schedules to ensure social distancing.
- Housing and dining costs to remains unchanged at Lehigh
Despite a shortened semester on the Lehigh University campus this fall—in-person activities will end at Thanksgiving—housing and dining costs will not be changed from the original 2020-2021 figures, the university has announced. Also, meal plan offerings will remain largely unchanged from semesters past with the exception of the conversion of the 19-meals-per-week option to a 250-block plan.
While all on-campus dining locations will be open to students, Bruce Christine, general manager of Dining Services, and David Joseph, executive director of Student Auxiliary Services, have planned large-scale changes to the way dining will work this fall.
Changes will be evident even before students enter a dining hall. Joseph said rather than handing their student ID to an employee to be swiped, students will swipe themselves into the dining hall to avoid unnecessary contact.
Self-service in the dining halls will be completely eliminated, meaning there will be no buffet-style dining. Instead, Sodexo staff will hand students plates and utensils, and students can then walk over to a station of their choice, where the food will be plated by another staff member, Joseph said.
Christine and Joseph are looking to run all campus dining spaces at 50% capacity, and there will be new seating arrangements to promote social distancing.
- NHL team’s training facility requires preorder meals
One of the greatest perks for Pittsburgh Penguins' players at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex is the spacious lounge area where the club can meet to bond with one another before and after practices each day. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept the lights turned off in the lounge. When players around the league were allowed to re-enter their respective practice facilities on June 8 to begin Phase 2 of the NHL's Return to Play plan, one of the many changes in protocol was no food was allowed to be consumed on-site. Any meals provided to the players had to be individually packaged in to-go containers for out-of-facility consumption.
At the beginning of each week, the players are texted a menu that includes three breakfast and two lunch options per day. Shortly after receiving the menu, players are then sent an electronic order form where they make their choices via an app. In an effort to help keep the players—especially the rookies living in hotels—from having to dine out, they're offered the opportunity to purchase additional meals for themselves and their families.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]