As with many aspects of campus life this semester, eating at the Van Dyke Center is a different experience than it has been in years past. Dave Brinegar, the dining operations manager, and Sherry Woodward, executive chef at Emory & Henry College, explained the new campus dining policies.
The front door into Van Dyke is now an entrance only, and the back door is now an exit only. Before proceeding into the dining hall, students will have their temperatures checked at the door. Other safety measures taken include a mask requirement, arrow-marked paths through the dining hall with an emphasis on social distancing, additional hand sanitizing stations, and seats marked as either closed or available for seating.
“I love that they implemented the clear barriers to allow people to sit with their friends while keeping each other safe,” third year student Bryan Bautista said.
These safety measures are not limited to the dining hall. Woodward assured that there is plenty of space for all staff to remain at least six feet apart back in the kitchens. The dining hall is cleaned every 15 minutes, and a thorough 30-minute sanitization is done after it closes.
This semester, students will be given a plate and plastic utensils at each station rather than picking them up at the start of the line. A staff member will also serve students their drinks rather than allowing students to get their own. The same beverages are available, though milk is now served in cartons. Furthermore, Brinegar placed an emphasis on a single-use only policy in the dining hall. While students are still permitted to go back for refills, they will be given a new glass each time.
For students wanting to minimize their contact with others as much as possible, or for anyone who does not want to eat in the dining hall, to-go items are being offered at the salad bar. The actual salad bar has been moved to the island next to the deli bar.
Due to the social distancing criteria and the college wanting to minimize large groups, the Martin-Brock Student Center and the Hut have been closed for the semester. However, dining services came to a solution to make sure students could still get their favorite Hut items: Stingers at Night. Stingers Cafe is open from 5–9 p.m. Monday through Sunday offering six or seven popular menu items from the Hut, including their chicken tenders, Brinegar assured.
“It’s definitely taken a while to get used to, but I am glad that they put this much thought into how to safely serve those on campus,” Bautista said.