Food for Falcons: Dining services faces challenges during COVID-19
The buffet stand behind plexiglass barrier in Canova Commons.
Photo courtesy of Parkhurst Dining
Food services on campus has faced unique obstacles dealing with serving students during COVID-19 this semester.
Nandi Yeakle, general manager of dining services, has ensured that students and staff members are staying safe by putting safety measures in place.
“We have increased a lot of safety measures for the safety of our team members as well ie: plexiglass, more room while working (6 feet between each workspace), temperature checks, and daily symptom monitoring,” Yeakle explained when talking about her staff.
Students have been a huge part of making sure everyone is safe and following guidelines.
“I think that Parkhurst is obviously doing the best they can in a situation that isn’t easy but it’s also fair to be hesitant in trusting everything they do,” Kendal Nichols, a current junior said about dining on campus. “It’s as much on the students as it is on Parkhurst to make sure everyone is following guidelines.”
It seems that this reigns true throughout campus, and the dining staff has taken note of the good job that students have been doing.
“We haven't had that many issues; students understand once we explain things,” Yeakle said about student compliance in the dining halls. “I just wish students wouldn't move tables and chairs to sit together because they are not socially distancing.”
Yeakle says that there have only been two incidents where students didn’t follow guidelines, which she considers to be a big win.
Along with the physical barriers that have been put into place, a few new ways to get food have been introduced. Two big introductions are reservations in Canova Commons and mobile ordering for Falcon’s Nest. Each has proved to have a learning curve, but overall have been a success.
“The new system isn’t without glitches and problems, but I know that the staff has been work hard to be accommodating and to remedy and problems to the best of their abilities,” Nichols said when asked about problems within the dining services.
When asked about how some of the Canova Commons setbacks have been handled, Yeakle said, “We work with Kyle Dailey, the Dean of Students, to come up with positive solutions. Many students had concerns about the hours within the dining halls. We extended the hours in Canova to accommodate those that have labs or clinicals Monday-Thursday.”
She also stated that student back like Kendal’s are very important to the dining services team.
“We were able to make a lot of positive changes like pricing and user interface. We have also changed some of the menus in Canova due to feedback; we added taco Tuesdays, fiesta Fridays, throwback Thursdays, sandwich specials, and salad specials.”
Students have seen these changes and realized that their voices have been heard, and that they can help to solve any other issues that may present themselves as we find what works best.