Administration to enforce new sanitation polices among Global Village booths

CACC+Culinary+students+prepare+samples+of+hamburgers+with+onions+at+the+Germany+booth.+Several+Culinary+students+participated+in+Global+Village%2C+even+if+the+culture+they+represented+was+not+their+own.+These+students+filled+the+RBHS+cafeteria+during+the+event.+Photo+by+Allie+Pigg

CACC Culinary students prepare samples of hamburgers with onions at the Germany booth. Several Culinary students participated in Global Village, even if the culture they represented was not their own. These students filled the RBHS cafeteria during the event. Photo by Allie Pigg

Amira McKee

Today’s Global Village has a bit of a twist thanks to health concerns stemming from COVID-19.

RBHS principal Jacob Sirna sent an email at 1:08 a.m. March 12 to students and parents announcing stricter sanitation policies for the Global Village celebration than have normally been enforced. 

In this email Sirna said all food handlers and servers must now wear latex gloves, and food will only be available in individual portions. Administration or staff will frequently “spot-check” food stations to ensure they are compliant with the new protocols, he wrote. 

In addition, for the first time, students will be able to opt out of Global Village and, instead, sit in the Media Center during their class’ rotation. Assistant principal Dr. Lisa Nieuwenhuizen said RBHS took these new efforts in response to concerns that the event could facilitate the spread of COVID-19, but she said she believes Global Village will not provide a unique opportunity for the disease to proliferate.

“I know, like, in terms of sanitary food handling, gloves are required, so that was a step that we could take [to prevent the spread of disease], ” Dr. Nieuwenhuizen said. “I have Clorox wipes to clean all the stations, make sure there’s not as many germs, but I feel like we’re a school of 2,100 kids, and people sit in the cafeteria and commons and all over the place and eat and share food and drink out of the same bottles. I’m not sure that it’s gonna have much of an impact.”

Freshman Fatima Yousuf, who is helping run the Pakistan booth, said in order to make their dishes as sanitary as possible, all food preparation will use clean utensils and all servers will be wearing latex gloves. She said she hopes the new precautions persuade students to enjoy the food despite fears surrounding COVID-19. 

“I think that after they kind of see that we all have gloves on and we were told in emails that we are supposed to make sure our stuff is clean, and if not, we’re going to be kicked out,” Yousuf said, “I think they’ll see that we did prepare this. We made this clean for people to eat, and it’s going to be as safe as possible.”

Sophomore Haeam Li said the new measures will likely not impact his station, the Korea booth, as in past years the Korea representatives have already provided their dishes in individual servings. While he said it may affect those whose culture traditionally serves and eats food by hand, he said the new safety measures could help lessen the chances of diseases spreading. 

“I think it’s a good approach to, like, not having an epidemic at Rock Bridge, and it’s certainly a responsible approach that people are taking,” Li said. “I mean, it could also be better if you also have other protections like [hair nets] and masks, but it’s certainly an approach to take to make the situation better.”

Despite the recent increase in concerns of COVID-19, Yousuf said she hopes students will still take advantage of Global Village as an opportunity to learn about other countries and ways of life. She said she is especially looking forward to educating students on the traditions Pakistani culture, an experience that might otherwise be unavailable.

“I’m always excited for people to get to know my culture because it’s a minority now,” Yousuf said. “So, it’s very interesting for my friends to come and see the culture I grew up with.”

Will COVID-19 discourage you from participating in Global Village? Let us know in the comments below.