Clinton Dining Hall has changed it’s COVID-19 restrictions from last semester. The rules are less strict, but still aid in following the social distancing guidelines. Specifically, the plates, silverware, and cups are now all reusable, the drink station is self-serve, and the ice cream machine and cereal dispensers are available for the students to use.
All dining halls capacities have been reduced by 50% with dining tables separated by six feet. Students must follow the posted social distancing dining guidelines, while high-touch areas are cleaned frequently by dining associates during meal service.
Students are being asked to not enter the campus dining facilities if they are not feeling well. All dining venues will offer meal take out options and maximum dining occupancy limits are posted and will be monitored.
“Our primary concern is to keep our students safe. It is important to understand, however, that there also needs to be personal accountability on every student that enters any of our dining facilities,” Food Service Director Christopher Mihalyi said. “Our on-campus rules and guidelines are only as effective as our student’s willingness to follow them. Social distance, wear your mask, wash and sanitize your hands—these are not new expectations. We also strive to ensure all of our signage is appropriate and up to date.”
Mihalyi stressed that the rules and operations within the dining hall follow the COVID-19 guidelines set by Clinton County.
“The rules were not much stricter last semester compared to this one,” Mihalyi said. “The biggest change is the reopening of the self serve beverage line in Clinton. This is allowed by Clinton County Health Department and we follow their strict guideline of sanitizing all public facing touch points multiple times over the course of an hour.”
According to Connor Nielsen, a SUNY Plattsburgh biology major, the current dining hall guidelines aid in following the social distancing policy. Similarly to Mihalyi, he agrees that the restrictions were not that strict last semester. He thinks that the dining hall will be more efficient with the self-serve drink station.
“I think the guidelines make sense. When we waited in line for our drinks, nobody was six feet apart. I think there is less contact because it’s quicker,” Nielsen said. “I feel like the rules weren’t really that strict to begin with and I don’t think that any of the covid cases are linked to the dining hall.”
According to Kassie Doran, a SUNY Plattsburgh psychology major, “I’m excited to have the soft serve ice cream back, but I think it’s really weird that we can’t get our own spoons. We just touched the same handle to get our drinks, but I’m not too concerned. I don’t think our cases are going up because of the soda machine,” Doran said.
According to Mihalyi, the dishwasher in Clinton was inspected right before reopening Jan. 3.
“Both by a third party maintenance company and our chemical provider to ensure it was holding proper sanitizing temperatures and that the chemicals were being dispensed at the proper concentrations as dictated by the NYS Department of Health,” Mihalyi said. “We also have the dishwasher inspected at least once, if not twice a semester and do regular checks to ensure temp and sanitizing concentration is within guidelines.”
Clinton Dining Hall has and will continue to follow all the Clinton County and CDC health guidelines.