Ellis and Todd Dish Out COVID Directives

Todd Dining Hall displays signage indicating the COVID-19 social distancing directives. The dining halls
only permit patrons to enter during designated times for scheduled cleaning.

Cole Main

Todd Dining Hall displays signage indicating the COVID-19 social distancing directives. The dining halls only permit patrons to enter during designated times for scheduled cleaning.

ISAAC REEVES, Reporter

The familiarity of the Ellis and Todd dining halls have changed as the new school year has started during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many students are familiar with the Ellis and Todd dining halls on campus. Ellis may be the place you go for breakfast before class. Some students have memories of going to Todd for dinner, waiting in line at the Stir Fry bar or to grab a few slices of pizza before heading off to your room for a night of studying. For some students, the dining halls are just another dining option on campus in addition to Taco Bell or Chick-Fil-A in the lower levels of the Student Union, but for other students, the dining halls are a place to enjoy lunch with friends.

With changes such as different hours of operations, lack of self-service and newer layouts of the dining halls, familiarity is now an afterthought. As the pandemic continues, students have to adjust to classroom and lab changes and now to the dining halls.

Dining halls used to be open continuously, with Ellis opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 8 p.m, and Todd staying open later, until 10 p.m. Now, the halls are open at block times of the day to serve different meals and then sanitize the tables and food and drink stations between blocks.

A big change at the dining halls is the social distancing and interactions between staff and customers. Ellis has two entrances, a left and a right one on opposite sides of the hall. To limit social interaction, only the left entrance is open. Masks are also required to enter the dining halls.

Where last semester you gave the staff your student ID to be swiped, you must swipe your ID yourself as the staff members aren’t allowed to take your ID for sanitary purposes. After you have swiped your student ID, the staffer will hand you a cup for drinks.

In Ellis, there are arrows on the floor to guide customers through the dining hall to promote social distancing. Tables in the dining halls have also been moved or blocked off from usage to help promote as much social distancing as possible without sacrificing the full capacity of the halls. In addition to the limited hours of operations of the dining halls and social distancing protocols, the option to self-serve food is terminated, the only exception being drinks. Students must tell the staffer what food they want and wait to be served. For example, if you want to have a cheeseburger with fries, students must ask the staff to prepare it for them. The lack of self-service is to help keep the dining hall as sanitary as possible.

Napkins have been removed from tables and now have their own stations in both Todd and Ellis. For the most part, this change is probably the least impactful as this only affects a few food stations such as salad bars, desserts, pizza, and the grilling stations.

Policies are always subject to change on campus depending on how controlled the pandemic is, just as how the dining hall’s hours of operations and policies may change as well. Students must adapt as areas that were once familiar change.