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school lunch safety

Kids can wear the most protective masks to school, but when it comes to lunch time, and the masks come off, how do you keep kids safe?

#EatOutside and more recommendations.

Dr Alex Huffman’s thread on eating outside for lunch / meals / snacks.

This school in Arlington, VA eats outside.

@HeidiNBC “Does this cost money?”
Principal: “Money?! No, we just used our brains!”

A school opens the doors, lets the kids outside, where they spread out, sit on blankets, and eat lunch. We don’t advise unvaccinated adults eat in restaurants, why should it be any different for unvaccinated kids? Watch this clip of a school in Arlington, VA.

Dr. Fauci says eat outside.

@apoorva_nyc: “Would it help if the kids ate lunch outside …? How important is ventilation?”
Dr. Fauci: “Oh, it’s critical, it’s critical. You could be outside eating your lunch in school into November. … that would be great.”

CDC says eating outside is best

As Dr Huffman points out, the CDC specifically states: “Eating meals outside is best.”

Good ventilation is important, especially in areas where students may not be able to wear masks. Eating meals outside is best. If you need to have students eat in a cafeteria, use methods such as opening windows, maximizing filtration as much as the system will allow and using portable HEPA air cleaners.

Lunch time needs special considerations.

@marwa_zaatari @Poppendieck @HuffmanLabDU

Dr Alex Huffman points out that indoor lunch is a high risk because:

Eating indoors when masks are off is dangerous, because you can breath *IN* more respiratory aerosols for two reasons:

  1. Within the first few feet of someone you breathe air directly from their exhalation, before it dilutes
  2. Aerosols also build-up in weakly ventilated spaces

Eat outside. If at all possible, make it happen. But if you absolutely cannot, take these steps (small groups, be quick, don’t talk, ventilate, HEPA) to help keep the air clean and stagger lunch times to give some time to flush out the air between groups. (a short clip of Dr Huffman from the #DeltaSchoolsCovid expert presentation on school safety)

On mental health and lunchtime

Children of America, You’ve Been Gaslit at Lunchtime. By Alice Virgil, Ph.D., LCSW for Psychology Today.

“As in the film Gaslight, [schools silent about lunchroom risk undermine] students’ sense of truth about how the virus spreads. No wonder our kids are depressed, anxious, and traumatized. They’ve been gaslit by the institutions charged with their safety.”: @DrAliceVirgil1

The immediate threat is now.

What about when it gets cold out?
Protect kids right now, today. Figure out a plan for tomorrow as it comes.

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