Hot Lunches Return to Curtis High School


Alysa Grillo

Upon returning to school in September 2021, many things considered normal by students were either changed or totally removed. One of these was hot school lunch. Curtis High School, along with many other schools throughout New York City, eliminated hot school lunches. 

This was done partially because of the staff shortage in New York City public schools after the city announced the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine mandate, and to help reduce the risk of students contracting COVID-19, according to the Daily Mail. 

To replace the hot school lunches, students at Curtis were given grab-and-go lunches consisting of pretzels, hummus, carrots, and possibly a salad or a sandwich. These lunches were placed in a cooler accessible to all students, including those without a lunch period. Teachers would also often eat these grab-and-go lunches. 

“I really enjoy the peanut butter sandwiches,” said history teacher Mr. Basso.

There were certainly mixed opinions on the lunches. Some loved it, while others missed the hot lunches. “The grab-and-go lunch is nice but I just wish there was some variation instead of just the same thing every day. I do not have a lunch period so grab-and-go lunch is easy,” said Jay Ramirez, a junior. 

Students are said to enjoy these lunches because they are quick and efficient. There was no more waiting in line for a school lunch or only being able to eat during a lunch period. They were able to grab a lunch bag whenever they felt the need for one. The complaints revolved around the fact that the grab-and-go lunch was not satisfying – students were left hungry after eating the “snacks” that were served in the grab-and-go lunch bags. 

Denise Xhepa, a junior, shared, “I feel like the grab-and-go lunches are more like snacks and not proper lunches.” 

Overall, the grab-and-go lunches were unable to effectively replace hot school lunches.

Curtis began hot lunch service again on March 7. After going through half the school year with only grab-and-go lunches, students were thrilled to hear the news. For some students, the hot lunches served at school were the only free, cooked meal they had access to. These students have expressed gratitude towards the return of hot lunch. 

Many students were surprised by the fact that they missed the school lunch considering they never really sought it out before. Being served the grab-and-go lunches served as an eye-opener for some, allowing them to appreciate the hot lunches more than they ever thought they would. 

“I like hot lunch, it is better than grab-and-go lunch,” said Isabella Hermida, a junior. I feel like a freshman again, it is very nostalgic. I feel like it is more filling than the other lunch because I actually get to eat cooked meals which I never noticed how much I actually missed.”