Lunch breaks ought to be extended for students

With long checkout lines and construction detours, students need more time to enjoy their lunches and relax

Many Palo Alto High School students have experienced the crowded noon-time commute to Town and Country during lunch and the subsequent 20-minute wait in line for many restaurants. Given the increasing number of students attending Paly every year, this wait will likely worsen, especially if there is no change to the current schedule at Paly.

Evidently, long lines result in shorter amounts of time to eat. The current 40-minute lunch periods are already divided into the walk to Town and Country (a task made harder with the construction), waiting in lines, eating and rushing back to campus to avoid being late for class. Ultimately, this lack of adequate lunchtime leaves students with minimal time to actually sit down and eat, let alone to socialize with friends.

The easiest solution to this problem would be to make lunch periods longer. Of course, the long lines at Town and Country would not disappear, but students, at the very least, would be able to sit down and relax for lunch with less worry of being late to the next class.

The primary issue arising from a longer lunchtime would be a longer school day. This may impact a student with an after school itinerary, since every class after lunch would have to be pushed back. Despite this, the change would ultimately benefit all and have a positive impact on the student body as a whole.

Students deserve a longer lunch break not only to reduce the trouble of having a short amount of time to eat their lunch, but also to have time for relaxation. Time spent to unravel after a long morning can help refresh a student’s mind.

Furthermore, students who participate in clubs that meet during lunch would also benefit from this new structure. It is often the case that  students end up needing to choose between attending meetings or getting lunch from Town and Country. This problem usually results in them bringing lunch from home or skipping the meal altogether, an inconvenience under either circumstance.

“I skip lunch almost every day, so a longer lunch would really help since then I wouldn’t have to run or skip class to get food,” junior Candace Wang said.

A student’s social life is also an important aspect that schools should further promote. Having the time to socialize with peers will help students build a lifelong skill of communication. Currently, the only free time available for students is brunch, a meager 15 minute gap. Though academics are important, time to socialize should not be outweighed by such a large margin.

More time during lunch results in more restaurants to choose from. Students could go into downtown Palo Alto or El Camino where lines may be shorter. Students would no longer be confined to the repetitive restaurants in Town and Country.

Furthermore, students would be given more flexibility on how they would like to spend their lunch break. Some would like to use the time for meeting with teachers and discussing issues with advisors.

“Even if it means that our school day has to be longer, lunch time would be much more helpful than tutorial, because tutorial is at the end of the day and most people are tired and want to go home,” Wang said.

A lunch break extended by a mere 10 minutes would have a significant impact on students lives. Time to relax will result in higher productivity later in the day, improving a student’s overall academic life. The break would also become more flexible for students to use and those participating in a club would be able to have a healthier lunch schedule, as well as have the benefit of socializing with friends. If such a small change in the schedule can help in so many ways, it seems nearly obvious to implement such an alternative.