Along with many other components of campus life, The University of Memphis’ dining program has unveiled new protocol and regulations to combat COVID-19 transmission.
Employee safety will be a top priority for the UofM, considering they will have the most contact with the public. Daily wellness checks will be administered, including contactless temperature checks, before employees clock in. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves and plexiglass barriers will also help decrease the spread of the virus. Employees are required to change gloves every 30 minutes, especially when cleaning surfaces like chairs and tables, to further prevent transmission.
Improved safety criteria will be put in place in every dining location. Cleaning and sanitizing will be intensified and sanitation stations will be placed throughout dining halls for students and staff to use. This means that everyone entering a building will be required to sanitize their hands as well as wear a mask. Seating arrangements will also be different during the fall semester. Tables will be arranged to enforce social distancing, cutting the available seating down significantly. Checkpoints, located around the floors, will help remind students and staff to remain six feet apart. In the Tiger Den Eatery, no self-service will be allowed. Employees will serve tables, when possible, instead.
Students will still be able to use Boost to preorder food from their favorite restaurants on campus. Food from Smoked, Panda Express, the UC Market and TOMs will be picked up by customers who use Boost in Grind City Coffee. Chick-fil-A will not be offered through the app, however.
Contactless catering and drop off will also be available through the dining services. Using Catertrax or Boost, students will be allowed to order an array of food options all across campus. The disposable packaging will help decrease the spread of infections between students and dining staff.
“I feel like, if I am on campus, I will use the dining resources because I can use the pickup option as well as using precautions,” said Reanna Cavness, a student at the UofM. “But, if I hear someone within the dining services has COVID, it will make me more timid to use the facilities. I will also feel overwhelmed waiting in a socially distanced line, but I believe the staff is doing the best they can in times like these.”
Cavness believes that not being able to catch-up with her friends in the University Center will be difficult for her.
“It’s crazy to think we used to fit more than ten people at a table and eat together,” she said. “However, I understand the new world we are living in. Staying safe and healthy is my top priority.”
Another University of Memphis student, Sarah Marcom, voiced her views on the new dining regulations.
“Since dining dollars are included in my tuition, I will be using the dining halls and socially distancing,” she said. “However, it does make me anxious in doing so. I would rather use the contactless services but if it becomes too difficult, I will go in. I think Memphis has implanted correct, and efficient, protocol for the time being and it is still a learning process for all.”
Marcom also expressed her concern for feeling nervous about waiting in a socially distanced line and knows other students who have similar outlooks. However, she said her mind is at ease to know the associates will be socially distancing as well because their health is just as important as the students.