High School Open Campus Lunch Policies


This brief discusses the impact of an open campus lunch policy on factors such as student safety, health, development, and attendance at nine public high schools. It also includes considerations for deciding whether to maintain, modify, or discontinue an open campus lunch policy. The brief reviews strategies and safeguards that schools with open campus lunch policies implement to reduce potential negative effects, as well as strategies that schools employ to transition from an open to a closed campus lunch policy.

Key observations from our research

1. To decide between an open or closed campus lunch policy, contacts consider which policy will best promote student success.

2. Contacts reduce negative effects of an open campus lunch policy through student eligibility requirements for open campus lunch.

3. Contacts consider whether an open campus lunch policy will help their students learn to manage time and responsibly exercise freedom.

4. Administrators at School B, School C, and School D communicated the closed campus lunch policy transition timeline and rationale to stakeholders, but did not consider community input in their decision.

5. Administrators expand cafeteria facilities, designate additional eating areas, and reorganize the lunch schedule to accommodate the increase in students who eat lunch on campus during closed campus lunch.

6. Contacts adjust but do not significantly increase existing security measures after transitioning to a closed campus lunch policy.

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