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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Breaking: In-person dining to resume on February 3


On Feb. 3 at 7 a.m., the Grinnell College dining hall will reopen for in-person dining. Disposable dishware and silverware will be used to facilitate the beginning of this transition, Dean of Students Ben Newhouse wrote in an all-campus email. To-go boxes will still be available for students as well.

The low COVID-19 positivity rates have made this transition to in-person dining possible, Newhouse said. Despite the highly contagious nature of the Omicron variant, the College has determined that the social health of the student body outweighs the risks of opening the dining hall.  

“We just felt like, the social benefits definitely outweigh some of the risks, knowing that students can make their own individual choices along the way about what they’re comfortable with,” said Newhouse.

Along with the community benefits of an eat-in dining hall along, the College noticed the difficulty students have found with finding locations. “Also recognizing that students were making their absolute best efforts to find alternative locations to gather and eat, and it still was creating a space crunch. So, it just made logical sense,” said Newhouse.  

If the isolation numbers and positivity rates rise, then the College may have to return to the dining to-go system, Newhouse said. However, the College recognizes that it is extremely difficult to prevent breakthrough Covid cases from the Omicron variant even with extremely cautious public health measures.  

“Positivity rates may require us to shift. And at the same time, you know, we recognize that even, you know, a person who’s navigating our spaces, you know, utilizing the highest public health precautions could still end up being a breakthrough case,” he said.  

The College said that they are thrilled to resume in-person dining and hopes that the students are as well. “The students are definitely excited. And we’ve been looking forward to this day as well for our students, you know, ever since we came back together,” said Newhouse.  

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