Concerning COVID: Risks of Standing Too Close in Dining Lines

September 14, 2020 |

Concerning COVID

September 14, 2020

Question: What are the risks of standing too close together in dining lines, even if wearing a mask?


Masks allow for a barrier at preventing droplets from reaching others when talking, sneezing, or coughing. When students are in lines at the dining hall, it can be hard to maintain the recommended six feet for physical distancing. Wearing a mask can be helpful when being physically distanced is more difficult, such as in the dining hall. In addition, compliance to recommended measures play an important role in helping control the spread in areas like the dining hall. For example, if students do not also practice appropriate hand hygiene in the dining hall, they risk the chance of exposing others if they are a carrier, even with a mask on. There may be students unable to wear a mask due to medical reasons. For those, a mask adds an extra barrier from those around them no matter if the person is carrying Covid-19 or not. Studies have shown that up to 40% of viral transmission is caused by those who carry the virus but lack symptoms. .

CDC: “Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.” Source

Fact SummaryCedarville has put multiple measures in place to optimize safety and distancing of students during meal times including stickers on facility floors to encourage proper social distancing, a crowd checker app that shows when and where crowds and lines are minimal, and to-go options in all dining facilities so students can take food back to their residence halls, or even outside, to avoid crowding in the dining facilities. While none of these options are monitored by university staff, students are encouraged to utilize them at their own discretion. As a reminder, there are a total of seven options for students to get food on class days.

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