New Dining Options for Fall 2020 Semester

By Amaya Morales

Managing Editor

The dining halls at FDU are the epitome of student life, it’s where students spend time eating, hanging out and doing assignments together. However, with the uncertainty of returning to campus, dining is yet another aspect to be talked about by school officials.

The Equinox hosted a roundtable discussion regarding dining at FDU. To get an inside look at what could potentially happen in the fall, The Equinox recently reached out to the Associate VP of Communications, Angelo Carfagna. In his response, he told the Equinox:

“As with all our operations for the fall, we are aligning our dining plans with the guidance recently provided by the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education. This will include of course necessary social distancing and other measures to adhere to health and safety standards, while also providing flexible and convenient meal options for our students.” 

Angelo confirmed that FDU will be following health standards of NJ state laws should we return to campus. 

Additionally, Carfagna said, “the Task Force [corresponding to this “issue”] is now finalizing its recommendations so we should have more information shortly… [and] will keep the students posted.”

On June 18, 2020, the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE) shared a list of recommendations and requirements for all colleges and universities to follow in order to reopen. These standards have several aspects of campus life, including dining, residency, health and safety, and learning instruction.

In the dining section, there are numerous recommendations for schools to follow depending on the case rate in New Jersey, as well as what stage NJ is in as part of Gov. Murphy’s “Road Back” plan.

New Jersey is currently in stage two of the above six-point plan to reopen, where outdoor dining, takeout food, and curbside pickup are allowed. 

When it comes to dining on-campus, New Jersey has a set of standards and limitations that schools should follow regardless of stage.

Stage 1 Colleges are engaged in distance learning

  • Indoor dining facilities are closed.
  • Takeout, “grab-and-go,” and/or delivery available to those who must continue to reside on campus.
  • Takeout, “grab and go,” and/or delivery options should remain available.
  • Outdoor dining only is allowed pursuant to statewide occupancy, health, and safety guidelines.
  • Indoor dining facilities may open with a limited occupancy based on state guidelines in place at the time. Must adhere to all CDC and DOH protocols, social distancing guidelines and sanitation protocols.

Stage 2 – Potential for some in-person learning with modifications

  • Takeout, “grab and go,” and/or delivery options remain available.
  • All outdoor dining facilities should follow state and federal safeguarding guidelines, such as:
    • Outdoor dining should continue pursuant to statewide occupancy, health, and safety guidelines.
    • Proper hygiene protocol
    • Wearing a cloth face covering
    • Remaining six feet apart 
    • Minimizing gatherings
    • Disinfecting and sanitizing workplaces and dining areas

Stage 3 – Colleges may operate in person with reduced capacity

  • All outdoor and indoor dining facilities should follow state and federal safeguarding guidelines, such as:
    •  Proper hygiene protocol 
    • Wearing a minimum of cloth masks in public
    • Remaining six feet apart 
    • Minimizing gatherings 
    • Disinfecting and sanitizing workplaces and dining areas

Limitations for All Stages

  • All individuals entering dining facilities must wear face coverings.
  • All dining employees must wear gloves and face coverings while in dining facilities or providing food outside of the facilities for the purposes of outdoor dining and delivery.
    Exceptions will be made only for medical reasons.
  • Dining employees must be trained on appropriate sanitization and social distancing practices and protocols, as well as institutional policies and procedures developed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Institutions must limit the number of individuals in a single facility at any given time,
    including employees, in accordance with the occupancy guidelines. For example, during Stage 1, institutions may want to consider multiple food pick-up points, staggered food pick-up times, or direct food delivery to help manage capacity.
  • Institutions must eliminate buffet style dining, as well as self-serve open food and beverage stations. Institutions should eliminate any shared items (such as condiment bottles).
  • Dining facilities must follow state and federal safeguarding guidelines on follow proper
    hygiene protocol, wear masks, practice social distancing, minimize gatherings, and disinfect and sanitize workplaces. 

President Capuano has sent out an email regarding the Fall 2020 semester on July 7. In the email, he said that “dining operations will include physical distancing for lines and seating with full use of sneeze guards and plexiglass barriers.”

Similar to the recommended guidelines from the Office of Higher Education (OSHE), there will be standard cleaning procedures and protocols for employees to follow. There will also be expanded options for delivery, pick-up and “Grab-n-Go.”

At the end of the Dining section, President Capuano said that “at this time, only take-out and outdoor dining is permitted in New Jersey, but hopefully indoor dining will be permissible by the start of the semester.”

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Art by Amaya Morales.

Dining changes coming for fall 2020 semester.