Administration Makes Decisions About Flex Time Lunch


Media by Marta Mieze

MHS will see many changes next year: new staff members, online classes and flex time. Associate Principal Dr. Steve Hankins, who is in charge of decisions regarding flex time, said that before the end of the school year, returning students should receive a handbook regarding next year’s flex time.

[On the first day of school] we’ll take it nice and easy, so everyone knows what to expect and how it’s going to look”

— Dr. Steve Hankins

“[On the first day of school] we’ll take it nice and easy, so everyone knows what to expect and how it’s going to look,” Dr. Hankins said. “We’re trying to control the uncontrollable to an extent but we’ll put the rails where they need to be.”

On the first week of school he said flex time will not yet take place, but instead there will discussions on the ins and outs of it, some of which will include lunch.

On A and C days, which include flex time, lunch time will be open, meaning students will have the freedom to eat whenever and wherever they wish, instead of having the current system of shifts.

He said students will have multiple places to eat during lunch, including the Commons, hallways and some classroom that do not have computers.

Dr. Hankins also said the administration will re-introduce an outdoor place in the back of the school for students to enjoy lunch, which will be fenced and supervised by staff.

Many students have concerns about the potential for crowded lunch lines, which Dr. Hankins addressed with multiple solutions to guide them.

“We’ve talked about recommending, maybe asking, if possible, if you’re a junior or senior try to go at the beginning of the lunch shift,” Dr. Hankins said.

However he said this will be a recommendation for those who are available and those who don’t have other commitments.

As an alternative to buying lunch in the lunch line, Dr. Hankins said boxed lunches also will be offered and distributed on the second and third floors to make the lines in the Commons less crowded.

He said those purchasing lunch using red trays will have to remain in the Commons; however, after returning the tray, students can eat in any of the other places available.

“We’ve got plans and then we’ve got continuous plans. It’s kind of how we’re tackling lunch right now,” Dr. Hankins said.

Due to the lack of lunch shifts next year, lunch and custodial staff will work in a more “restaurant” style manner, where they clean table as students finish eating, Dr. Hankins said. However, materials, such as disinfectant wipes, also will be provided to students to make the process more efficient, which Bailey Smith, freshman, said should be important.

“I feel like students need to clean up after themselves a lot better,” Smith said. “Students need to have more responsibility.”

Students need to have more responsibility.”

— Bailey Smith

She said she is excited about the opportunities flex time will offer and thinks it is important for students to have a chance to start on homework while they can ask questions and get help from their peers and teachers.

“A lot of teachers don’t have that much time to do homework since a lot of class time is [spent on lessons],” Smith said. “It’s better to get homework done, rather than doing it late at night.”

Smith said the ability for students to eat wherever they please, is important for students to make the transition into college easier.

“I like the idea of giving more freedom to high schoolers,” Smith said.

Laura Hicks, lunch manager, said flex time lunch still has a lot of details that are not worked out and just depend on the implementation of flex time next year, as it will help them to see the flaws that need to be fixed as well as things that work well.

Kevin Sharitz, technology teacher, is part of the Flex Time Advisory Committee that  has met with Dr. Hankins multiple times to address any concerns and work out the details of flex time.

Sharitz said students wouldn’t be able to eat in his class due to the possibility of breaking computers, but he said the opportunity for students to eat wherever they wish important.

However, he said the opportunity for students to eat while making up tests might be distracting and counterproductive to some.

He said flex time overall will be extremely helpful for his courses because students will have a common time to work on group projects that otherwise would be difficult to coordinate.

Sharitz also said he is open to the idea of letting students spend their flex time experimenting and exploring the equipment available.  

“All the concerns I have are outside my classroom,” Sharitz said. “But we’ve been told by the administration ‘focus on the room and we’ll take care of everything else’.”