Given that masks cannot be worn while eating, this is among the more complicated issues for our reopening process. As such, we have put into place the following protocols and plans:

  1. We are prioritizing outdoor eating as much as possible across all divisions. Tents and ample outdoor space will assist with this.
  2. At the start of school, we will provide grab-and-go lunch selections to encourage students and employees to eat outside when possible and to minimize the complications for the first few weeks of school. We will begin introducing hot food service incrementally as our confidence in food service safety protocols is established. 
  3. Everyone will wash or sanitize their hands prior to eating and after eating.
  4. Students will only remove masks while they eat. They will wear their mask while picking up their lunches and disposing the trash. We will be encouraging our students to focus on eating during lunch, after which they may replace their mask, move to another space (ideally outdoors), and enjoy socializing with their friends. 
  5. All lunch and snack spaces will be thoroughly and regularly sanitized.
  6. School-provided snacks will be packaged snacks and will be consumed at designated times of the day in designated spaces. Any snacks that are not provided by school should only be consumed in the designated eating areas and, as always, should not contain nuts.

In our Lower School, lunch will be delivered to classrooms and distributed by teachers. Students will have their own clear vinyl cube to use when eating inside their classrooms. When eating outside, they will be physically distanced. Our Middle School students will also be eating in their classroom or outdoors. Middle School students will have their own clear vinyl cube when they eat indoors.

Our Upper School and Mastery School students will also be encouraged to eat their lunch outdoors. When indoors, they will eat in designated dining rooms, where standing-height plexiglass dividers will be placed on every table. Cleaning protocols for these spaces will be enhanced and will include training faculty and students on proper sanitizing. Dining areas on the Gates Mills campus have been expanded significantly.

This restart guide represents our best thinking, as well as that of experts at some of the top medical and educational institutions in the nation. Thank you to all of our medical advisors and peer schools for your guidance in helping to identify the specific protocols and resources referenced in this comprehensive plan.