The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Price Dining Hall and COVID-19: A new normal

Students crowd around the tables outside in the early morning for breakfast outside the Price Dining Hall. Credit: Kaylynn Chang (‘23)

It is 11:50 A.M.

You have been looking forward to this moment all morning, and after waiting patiently, it is finally time. You get out of your seat. With each step, the anticipation builds. You go around the corner and see it: The Price Dining Hall. But wait—it is a bit different from what you remember.

The tables are outside—the dining hall is now a dining patio. You stand in line to grab a pre-packed meal and struggle to find a seat outside as the hot sun beats down on you. The tables are packed, and you might have to eat on the curb. Everything about this school year feels a bit odd, and the dining hall is no exception to this feeling.

“I wish we had more seats and different options for the food sometimes,” Teddy Meng (‘23) said.

The dining hall may not be the same, but students and the rest of the community are adapting to these changes to prioritize our community’s safety.

Before the COVID-19 regulations, students may have memories of sitting inside the Price Dining Hall laughing with their friends, grabbing a toasty pre-chapel bagel, or enjoying a heaping spoonful of the daily dessert together as a community.

“Before the pandemic, we opened a variety of stations to alleviate the busy rush of lunch hour, including the Chinese station and the noodle bar,” said Erasmo Rodriguez, executive chef of the Webb Schools. “We also [had] the sandwich bar, panini bar, salad bar, and pasta bar. This is how you serve 600 people in an hour and a half.”

Even before the pandemic, preparing food for more than 600 people had been a difficult task. The dining hall staff would arrive at 5 A.M. in the morning to prepare breakfast. Similarly, preparing lunch and dinner required two hours of work before the meals are served to students. With the COVID-19 restrictions, these challenges are only magnified.

“Now, we face the challenge because more work is required for doing the pre-pack work,” Armando Amezcua, food service director said. “We have to prepare 600 lunches with 10 staff members.”

Although self-serving is not and will not be an option in the near future due to COVID-19 protocols, the long lines in front of the dining hall have significantly shortened. Instead of serving all the students and faculty one by one, the pre-packed meals offer an easy grab-and-go solution, creating less work for the staff, reducing waiting time and keeping safe distances.

“Safety and sanitation are the main thing,” said Armando. “Everything has to be pre-packed and individually prepared to avoid contact with different people.”

In addition, pre-packaged desserts are a new obstacle. Before, students would walk up to the designated dessert table and serve themselves. However, due to the added protocol of no open food, dessert options are limited to ready-made snacks, or the staff needs to put in extra work to package new ones.

Because it is difficult to estimate the exact number of students and staff who would opt for one specific cuisine, it remains challenging for the dining hall staff to bring back other dining options. Nevertheless, like always, the main meal varies day to day.

“We try to diversify our cuisines and we have a very talented culinary team,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “We’ve served everything from Peruvian cuisine, British cuisine, Arabic cuisine, to Palestinian… You name it.”

“The dining hall now is not as different as from before,” Conrad Poon (‘23) said. “More choices during lunch would be better. Other than that, everything is fine.”

The dining hall staff are working hard to adjust to these changes, and they are open to community feedback whenever necessary.

Based on student feedback, the dining hall is now adjusting the menu and introducing snack options during the day, adding sandwiches as a lunch option, and continuing to serve small side-salads for lunch and dinner. Webb students should also be on the lookout for healthy snack packs and expanded fruit options with the implementation of the new menu items.

When the reintroduction of indoor dining happens, students can expect to see the self-serve juice stations and other beverage stations slowly open up again with added twists. Students can also anticipate the opening of the salad bar or sandwich station, as the dining hall staff is getting creative with different menu options.

“As soon as we see the numbers go down, we may be able to go back to our new normal,” Armando said. “I am hoping that by the end of the year we can eat inside the dining hall.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Kaylynn Chang
Kaylynn Chang, Editor-In-Chief
An avid bookworm, journalist, and sushi lover, head day student prefect Kaylynn Chang (‘23) comes back to the Webb Canyon Chronicle for one last year as Editor- In- Chief! If you want someone to cook you a heartwarming meal, give you the best book recommendations, or help you with homework, Kaylynn is the right person for you. Equipped with a loud whistle, she manages to successfully get her voice heard through creative writing and independent journalism, as well as helping others achieve the same by leading affinity groups. She wants to continue using her talent and passion for justice for a career in law or politics after her Webb experience is over. When she’s not learning through everyone else’s life stories and memoirs, Kaylynn enjoys working out, cooking Korean food, and listening to her favorite songs by Cigarettes After Sex. From baking delicious snacks to giving you the most genuine advice, Kaylynn has the perfect recipe for looking after others and giving back to the community. As Editor-in- Chief, she hopes to make the WCC an accessible resource for all students and aspiring journalists to learn and share news about Webb.  Favorite Song: “Sunsetz" by Cigarettes after Sex 
David Hastings
David Hastings, Editor of Sports
Captain of the Webb football team, David Hastings (‘22) leads with distinction and serves as a suitable Editor of Sports. However, his interests stretch far beyond one activity; music also constitutes an integral part of his identity. David has rocked out instruments since he was young, initially playing the drums but later transitioning to the guitar; he now plays for his band “Orange Juice.” David also likes to hang out with friends in the Claremont Village or binge Netflix shows with a bucket of fudge brownie ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s on his lap. Unfortunately, he missed out on many social interactions because of the pandemic and looks forward to re-establishing broken social connectivity by learning and reporting individuals’ stories for the Webb Canyon Chronicle. Apart from contributing to the WCC as an athlete, musician, and editor, David strives to make every community member’s voice heard. Favorite song: "Bitter Sweet Symphony" by The Verve
Austin Ra
Austin Ra, Editor of Audiovisual
Returning with a rupture of exuberant energy and ready to express his thoughts, Austin Ra (‘23) is prepared to continue his journey at the Webb Canyon Chronicle. Aside from preparing for college applications during the summer, Austin spent his break from Webb in his medical summer camp, where he proposed multidimensional approaches to debatable medical issues. For instance, he was not afraid to discuss the high price of insulin and argue for the medicines he believes are important. Austin’s ability to openly voice his opinions allows him to strive in humanities classes and be a good candidate for the roles of day student prefect and Editor of Audiovisual for the Webb Canyon Chronicle. “In journalism, I can express what I want to express, have a sizable platform, and have credibility of my works,” said Austin. This year, he wants to continue producing quality work and promoting the publication’s media platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. In addition, he hopes to continue sharing his own perspectives on school events and social issues.   “Skating in Central Park” by Bill Evans and Jim Hall  
Stratton Rebish
Stratton Rebish, Editor-in-Chief
Stratton Rebish (‘24) is a man of many titles. Holding positions as Head Peer Advisor, Editor-in-Chief of the Webb Canyon Chronicle, the founder and president of the Webb Thespian Group, Stratton is, “kind of a big deal around town,” according to him. But within these responsibilities, he has two main passions: football and theater. As a varsity defensive end and football captain, you might not immediately think of Stratton as a theater kid. A single conversation with Stratton will brighten your day with his bubbly and dramatic tones. His hysterical jokes come from his love of stand-up comedy and comics like Hasan Minhaj. As for sports, he is an avid New York sports fan; the New York Jets and Knicks will forever hold a special place in his heart, even when they disappoint him year after year. Aside from getting grilled for his poor sports team taste, he is a self-proclaimed “aspiring grill savant”. He aspires to be a grill dad and loves a Southeast Asian dish called Satay. And when you hear, “So guys, funny story, right,” be ready for Stratton’s theatrics, because he will always be in character, playin’ his role.  Favorite song: "Life" by Sérgio Mendes
Sunny Yu
Sunny Yu, Editor-in-Chief
Sunny Yu (‘22) is a prime example of the protagonist personality. As a natural leader, she is active, thoughtful, caring, and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the WCC, a member of the Chapel Council, the captain of the varsity cross-country team, and a founding member of Webb’s Breakfast literary magazine. Sunny is also vocal and passionate about the enforcement of social justice and representation of marginalized groups: at the WCC, she utilizes journalism as a tool to shed light on many controversial issues, never shying away from the ability to make a lasting impact. During the weekends, you can often find her on a run to “The Spot,” a smoothie shop, playing soccer on Chandler, and occasionally annoying the library staff for borrowing too many books, such as her favorite, Waiting for the Barbarians, a wonderful allegory on human relationships. As a protagonist, she finds joy in guiding young journalists to grow into their best selves. This year, Sunny hopes that the WCC can continue covering important topics and spark conversations while bringing people laughter and keeping them informed. Favorite song: "Sunflower Feelings" by Kuzu Mellow

Comments (0)

All Webb Canyon Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *