Our courtyard needs protection from harsh weather

Jordan Atchison, Staff Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the daily lives of almost everyone in the world at this point, including students at Akins.

It may seem small to complain about being inconvenienced at lunch because of the lack of comfortable shaded seating, but it does affect a time of the day when students are trying to rest and relax.

For example, let’s say you have A-Lunch, and as you rush to the cafeteria from the STEM halls you find the lines packed and the cafeteria tables filled. 

Even so, students generally tolerate the long lines to get your food and start looking for a place to sit outside. However, as you look around you see the tables are full, students are stuck with the dilemma of figuring out where they can enjoy their lunch without the Texas sun melting students into puddles.

This problem has a few pieces to it, so let’s break it down. Right now the problem is with the heat, but when it rains or maybe even snows, we will have another set of issues with students not having a comfortable place to eat during lunch. No one wants to sit outside with the sun blasting their backs or when it’s raining cats and dogs in the courtyard. 

Let’s keep in mind that the school administrators changed the seating arrangements at lunch to provide more social distancing between students who used to sit side-by-side at packed tables in the cafeteria. 

They have basically cut the number of tables in the cafeteria in half and have the rest of the kids sit outside. 

This would be dandy if there was enough seating, however, there isn’t, and this means that not only do students have to eat lunch outside in the sun, but they have to stand while they do it. This leads to many students trying to pile around the few picnic tables scattered around the courtyard, or they must rush to try to get a seat in the cafeteria. 

Of course, there’s always the ground if you’re desperate. Another minor piece to this problem is a lack of trash cans outside, which leads to students leaving food and packaging all over the courtyard causing problems for the janitors and cleaning staff.

One solution to this shade problem is to add, well shade to the courtyard. We could do a school-wide fundraiser to buy a big pavilion to put over the concrete circle in the middle of the courtyard, along with tables and chairs for people to sit. To me, this would be the best solution to all of the problems I currently have with the way that lunch at Akins is right now. 

However, if a fundraiser is not possible and the school can’t afford to simply buy the needed items themselves. Then another option is simply to get more tables and chairs to put around the courtyard. 

There is an event hosted by AISD gathering volunteers who are making homemade picnic tables. Even though that wouldn’t solve the shade issue, it would alleviate the seating problem students are having during lunchtime and we should be willing to compromise if needed.

In the end, I hope this story will raise awareness about the seating issue during lunch and bring more attention to the problem, because nothing will happen if we just ignore the problems in front of us.