The implications of open campus lunch


Aarti Gupta

Senior Peter Wujek smiling after visiting Dunkin’ Donuts and Jimmy John’s during off campus lunch.

Mahima Shankar, Staff Writer

Neuqua Valley has been training its staff and students for ALICE protocol, a system used to teach students and teachers how to react in a dangerous situation. This acronym gives the faculty and students a chance to respond with their own judgment depending on the engagement of the threat. As the school has constantly reassured the students, the purpose of the drill is not to cause fear but rather to inform in a calm manner that an emergency has occurred. 

In order to alleviate space issues during COVID-19, Neuqua Valley also offers seniors a chance to venture outside during their lunch period, and as long as they hold proper identification, they are allowed back on the campus. But what happens when a drill or an actual emergency occurs while these students are outside the building? How does the school plan to notify these students in the case of an active intruder? 

Currently, there’s no plan of action for the scenario of an intruder when students are utilizing their open campus lunch. Furthermore, they are out of the loop and don’t have an idea of whether they can or cannot return back to campus. Sure, the few police officers surrounding the school could by chance notify the seniors, but that does not ensure the safety of the large numbers of students who are outside the campus. 

For instance, on Oct. 18, intruding threats directed towards Naperville high schools were posted on social media. Neuqua Valley responded thoughtfully, shutting down the open campus during lunch regulation and outdoor gym throughout the day. The announcement had occurred during the 3rd period of the bell schedule from the intercoms, causing a chaotic turn-around for the seniors rushing back into the building. But what if certain seniors had already ventured out during their lunch period and were not able to be contacted? 

Neuqua Valley High School urgently needs a plan of action for the off campus lunch situation. Further safety precautions could ensure a safer environment for the students to feel free to roam and come back without any fear.