Pandemic, stalled renovations necessitated dining center changes

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For now, open dining centers, like Kramer, will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. (File Photo by Melanie White | Collegian Media Group)

In the coming semester, campus dining centers will look a little different due to operation modifications necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, some additional changes might be instituted as deemed necessary by university officials.

For now, dining centers will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, an email sent to students in on-campus housing said.

The CDC suggests that some of the major ways to keep students safe include social distancing, using face coverings, carrying out frequent disinfection, reducing the number of people in an area and implementing disposable utensils where possible.

While the Derby Dining Center will not be open this fall due to setbacks in the remodel, Van Zile and Kramer will be.

Dining services are offering more options for students and also taking precautions to keep the dining centers open and as functional as they can be.

The first step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 through the dining hall is by only offering take-out options. This will limit who students are coming in contact with and reduce the risk of not socially distancing properly while eating.

There is an exception to this rule, however. Some student groups will be allowed to eat in the dining hall if they schedule a time and practice social distancing during their meal.

Even though students will not be eating in the dining centers every day, social distancing will be enforced and some room reconfigurations were necessary to make entering the building, waiting in line and exiting the building safer.

Additionally, wellness checks and screenings will be required of every dining center employee before they enter the workspace each day. They will also be required to wash their hands thoroughly and frequently per dining center protocols.

There will be plexiglass shields where they feel they are needed to prevent contact between employees and people dining as well as to separate the food from potential germs.

Another change will be the cleaning process. They will be sanitizing high contact areas and surfaces often as well as monitoring the beverage station. Students will swipe their own ID’s to make it a zero-contact transaction.

All utensils will be prewrapped and given to them with a drink cup before they get their to-go meal.

While these are the most major physical changes to the operation of the dining centers, there will also be changes to the meal plans themselves.

To decrease the traffic in and out and the general capacity of the dining centers at any given time, they now only offer either 14 or 20 swipes a week as opposed to the 12+ or all-access. Prices have been modified to fit the new plans.

For additional information about changing dining center protocols, visit the Housing and Dining Services website.

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Madison Daniel
Hey! I’m Maddie Daniel and I am a junior in mass communications. This semester, I'm the assistant culture editor and have previously served as a staff writer. After I graduate, I plan to go to law school to pursue a career in Federal Indian Law. I love art, history and anything outdoors.