As the semester approaches, one aspect of campus life has been on many minds: dining on campus. From D-Hall to Au Bon Pain, dining hall staff has been busy planning for students to return and enjoy their favorites. Front and center of that effort has been Joy Presley, Director of Operations at Aramark, which manages on-campus dining locations. We sat down with Presley to talk about what dining will look like this fall at Longwood.

Let’s get to the first question on everyone’s mind: Will D-Hall be open this semester?

Not only will we be open, we are ready for students! We’ve been hard at work all summer planning for the return to a normal operating schedule and looking forward to serving the campus community.

What will be different about D-Hall?

We’ve worked with federal and state officials as we developed plans and implemented changes focused on student, faculty and staff health. The first thing you’ll see that’s different is line management stanchions in the main service area, along with floor dots to promote social distancing. We’ve also adjusted our dining areas with fewer seats per table to also promote social distancing. We’ve added additional dining spaces to include the Nance and Lewis rooms in the bottom floor of Dorrill and the Soza Ballroom on the second floor of the Upchurch University Center. Diners will need to wear proper face coverings at all times while moving around the Dining hall and making their selections. Facial coverings can be removed while seated and eating.

We’ve also switched to a hybrid eat in and take out service model which includes disposable plates and utensils, fully staff-served food, and increased grab-and-go and takeout, options. These changes reflect the current reopening phase we are in, but we have plans in place to respond should guidance from state officials change. If we have to take those steps, we’ll communicate those with the campus community.

Will there be menu changes?

Right now, we’re making slight menu adjustments with the idea of keeping the lines moving in mind. That means minimizing the number of made-to-order stations that tend to have a lot of separate items, and focusing on maximizing grab-and-go options to keep it simple, safe, and speedy for our guests. Once we get open and better understand business volumes and traffic flows – we’ll work to increase variety and customization options wherever possible.

We’re also continuing to offer grab-and-go options for students in disposable boxes so they can eat outside or in their residence halls, wherever they feel most comfortable.

What about the other food options on campus, like Starbucks, Panda Express, FarmGrill, and Au Bon Pain--will those be open?

All other Aramark-managed locations will be open as normal, with similar line-management and face covering policies in place. We understand that these policies will extend the time it takes for students to get their meals, but it is the most responsible way we can continue to serve the community. We are committed to serving the campus as efficiently and responsibly as possible.



What about Moe’s and Chick-fil-A?

Yes, both will be open with similar restrictions as the main campus options.

Can I get my food to-go if I don’t want to eat in the dining hall?

Yes, there are disposable grab-and-go boxes that you can fill with items from D-Hall and take out with you.

How will D-Hall and the other areas be cleaned?

We have always maintained very high standards for cleaning and sanitation. Per CDC guidance, we have now included in an emphasis of frequent cleaning and sanitizing of all high-touch surfaces including door handles, tables, chairs, beverage equipment, etc. We also have a formal disinfection plan – should we have a documented case of Coronavirus within our facilities - using hospital grade disinfectants that the CDC has approved for the treatment of emerging pathogens -like Covid-19. In addition, all Aramark employees are required to wear face coverings, gloves and other appropriate personal protective equipment at all times while on campus. D-Hall will be closed from 3pm to 4pm every day for rigorous sanitation. Each evening, after the dinner service is complete, the entire area will be deep-cleaned and sanitized.

If I have to isolate because I’ve been contact exposed or tested for Covid-19, how will I eat?

Aramark has worked with the Incident Command Team to come up with a process to deliver meals to students living in Longwood housing who have been instructed to isolate.

Do I have to wear a mask in D-Hall?

You need to wear a proper face covering when you are getting your food and beverage in the main service area. You may remove your mask to eat, but need to put it back on when you are leaving and turning in dishes.

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