9.11.20: Dining Safety Concerns

A message sent to student meal plan participants.

Dear Student Meal Plan Participant,

The Dining Services team has worked diligently to prepare for the return of students to campus and to provide a safe place to eat and socialize. We are grateful for their efforts in establishing the dining environment in as normal a setting as possible and have enjoyed seeing and welcoming students back on campus.  

We appreciate that this new semester has required a significant adjustment, including the ways in which students engage with one another. We want students to have the opportunity to eat and connect with others in the dining halls; however, we cannot continue to offer this in the same way if COVID-related safety guidelines are not followed. 

Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that, while in the dining halls, many students are not practicing social distancing, some are not wearing masks, and many are moving chairs in order to sit in larger groups.

The changes and requirements that have been put in placeincluding socially-distanced eating spaces, plexiglass shields, and the wearing of face coveringshave been established for your safety.  

Behaviors around social distancing and adhering to the designated seating arrangements must follow stated guidelines for us to continue to offer in-person dining options.

The “Community Member Acceptance of Expectations” you signed prior to coming to campus outlines that those who do not abide by these agreed upon expectations can be held accountable through the student code of conduct. 

Should we determine that in-person dining cannot be operated safely, we will be forced to reevaluate our service methods and consider shifting to takeout service only. We do not want to restrict our dining operations, but will do so if it is necessary to mitigate risk to our community.  

We acknowledge the extraordinary year we are experiencing and know that dining provides an important way to connect with peers.  Your commitment to the shared responsibility of making this a safe experience for staff and students is paramount if we are to be successful.   

Working together, we can be successful in offering in-person dining. We respectfully ask that you maintain a distance of six feet while waiting in line, wear masks as required, and sit at the designated seats without crowding extra students into booths or tables.

We need your assistance in making this work and ask for your cooperation starting immediately. Let’s take care of each other and have a great semester.

Thank you.

David Joseph

Executive Director of Student Auxiliary Services

Katherine Lavinder

Dean of Students