For Minnesota schools, outdoor lunch offers a temporary solution for reducing COVID-19 spread


October 7, 2021

Photos by DAVID JOLES •

Some Minneapolis schools are taking advantage of the warm weather and having students eat outside to reduce the risk of spreading COVID. Here, Burroughs Community School third graders ate lunch outside in a courtyard where lunch duty volunteer Jan Bresler read to students Wednesday in Minneapolis. DAVID JOLES •

For about three hours each day, the courtyard at Burroughs Community School in south Minneapolis functions as a second lunchroom. Students bring their lunch trays and lunchboxes to picnic tables, where they sit a few feet apart.

The goal is to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 among students, all too young to be vaccinated, particularly during mealtimes when students have their masks off. And it seems to be working: Only three children have had to quarantine because of potential COVID exposure over the lunch hour.

"It's been really worth it because it allows us to really space our students a lot more than before," Principal Margaret Vecchio-Smith said.


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