By justin Malone, Staff Writer
Xavier students now have an enhanced dining experience at the Hoff Dining Commons with the removal of some COVID-19 protocols put in place last year.
Policies in the dining hall have been adjusted to fit the pandemic practices for this year, especially in light of the vaccine mandates for Xavier employees and students.
One change from last year is the removal of a reservation requirement for students to enter the dining commons.
“Every time you went to the Caf last year, you’d have to schedule ahead on your phone and then scan in,” sophomore communications major Logan Keeney said. “You also had to get a reservation to get food to go.”
This scheduling process allowed staff members to keep track of indoor capacity and helped students practice social distancing.
Previously, many students also took advantage of Xavier’s mobile ordering app to order dining hall food to go.
“You could order the Caf to go on the mobile ordering app, and you’d be able to get pizza, homestyle food, a burger, a chicken sandwich — the same kind of meals that they gave to people in quarantine,” Bryce Seward, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major, remarked.
With the prominence of to-go ordering last year, the reusable green boxes were not utilized.
“My freshman year… my favorite thing about the Caf was the green to-go boxes, so last year when we had to bring it up in these cardboard things, it was a little bit grosser,” junior nursing major Mitch Ballenger said.
However, some practices from last year continue this year in the dining hall. Staff members frequently clean tables in between dining patrons, and like last year, a flip card is placed on each table to indicate its cleaning status for those waiting to sit.
Xavier students and staff, as well as dining hall employees, are still being asked to wear masks any time they are not actively eating or drinking. These policies aim to prevent germ-spreading indoors.
Last school year, meals were prepared and served for students by staff, limiting portion sizes.
Caf staff members worked in additional areas of the Caf, such as the toaster, fruit stations and the cereal and milk stations.
In addition to staff members serving students food, some self-serve machines, including the soft serve ice cream and Pepsi Spire machines, were closed last year to prevent the spread of germs. Students are now allowed to use these self-serve machines as in years prior.
Ballenger noted that he is satisfied with these changes.
“I think it’s good that (pre-pandemic protocols) are coming back finally, because I was worried after COVID-19 that it wasn’t going to change back… but I am glad that it’s back to how it is, and it’s all for the better,” Ballenger said.