Dining halls feature identical carry-out menus, no dine-in — yet


Ryan Ash

A student swipes his i-card to enter the Ikenberry Dining Hall on Sunday. On-campus dining facilities created new adjustments in the wake of COVID-19.

By Aliza Majid, Staff Writer

Dining facilities on campus have overhauled their procedures to provide meals for students in a COVID-19 environment. 

There are now two ways students can retrieve their meals in the dining halls that limit in-person contact, and dining in isn’t one of them. 

“The first option is the one that we’re really advertising the most and that is carry-out. They will build their meals from a selection and tell dining services staff what specifically they would like in their to go container,” Housing spokesperson Chelsea Hamilton said. “These meals will be placed into single use containers. Students can carry up to two boxes of food and two beverages out of the dining hall.”

The dine-in option has been nixed while the University observes the effects of COVID-19 on campus and limits the number of student gatherings.

“We are looking into offering the dining option for our dining halls but we are not going to launch that until we get past Labor Day. We want to watch COVID-19 numbers and see how everything kind of shakes out on campus,” Hamilton said.

Before entering the dining halls for carry-out, University officials recommend students use the Illinois app and decide what they want to eat from the menu to decrease traffic. 

The second option available is the express pick-up option which allows students to choose from four prepackaged meals for quick pick-up and limited contact.

“The carry-out one is more if you’re planning on eating right then and there. The express one allows you to take your meal for the road and heat it up whenever you want. Either way it’s great,” said Mearieta Clemente, a sophomore in LAS. “Sometimes they’ll let you buy dinner ahead of time too if you’re lazy and don’t want to leave your dorm.” 

All the dining facilities have the same menu to encourage students to use one dining hall on a regular basis. 

“That way, students can stick to the dining hall that’s closest to them and not travel all over campus to kind of help social distance from our residence,” Hamilton said. “We just want you to kind of get in a routine of picking which dining hall you’re going to visit on a regular basis.”

Students with dietary restrictions will also have the ability to communicate with the University to order meals that fit their requirements. 

“For our students who have strict diet restrictions, we are asking them to continue working with our dietician within dining services, through our Inclusive Solutions program,” Hamilton said. “Dieticians would then work with those students to create the menus of the day and the daily meals that those students need to meet their dietary plan.”

Housing’s convenience stores, like 57 North at Ikenberry, will remain open for the semester but will abide by the CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of community members on campus. Hours and occupancy limits have been altered in order to follow these rules.

Specialty restaurants such as FAR Out Pizza and Dish have been removed because the University is trying to limit the number of students traveling around campus. The dining halls in Busey-Evans and the Illini Union are also no longer available — the renovated ISR dining hall will retake their place. 

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