Open Campus: Senior Viewpoints

Open Campus: Senior Viewpoints

Casey Pac

This year at James Caldwell High School, senior students are allowed to leave during lunch. Open campus allows students to have the option to go home or out to eat during lunch instead of staying in school. Seniors must bring their open campus ID card, sign out, and return to school during the hour. If students forget the open campus ID card, they cannot leave for lunch. Students who return late to school will also have their open campus privileges suspended. While meeting these requirements, seniors also needed a guardian’s permission to leave for open campus. This year, school administrators decided to start open campus on the first day of school, September 8th, 2022. This is a change from the 2021-2022 school year, when open campus did not start until the second semester, on January 19th, 2022.

As a senior, I have enjoyed using open campus privileges to get lunch from many local restaurants like Starbucks, Panera, Playa Bowls, and Sam’s Bagels. Other seniors might choose to go home during lunch, run errands, or eat lunch at school. Because many seniors leave during lunch, the lines can be long, making it stressful to return to school on time. In addition to students, many other community members also get lunch simultaneously, making these restaurants even busier. 

The West Caldwell Starbucks located in the plaza
about 5 minutes from JCHS
Photo courtesy of Casey Pac

Caption – The West Caldwell Starbucks located in the plaza about 5 minutes from JCHS. 

The West Caldwell Starbucks is one of the most popular spots for students to go during open campus, especially with the option of ordering ahead online. I was curious how open campus has changed the number of customers at local businesses. According to an employee at Starbucks in Caldwell, “The lunch rush has increased with the start of school, and many students pick up mobile orders during lunch.” The Starbucks employee also mentioned that the online ordering system has become backed up by additional orders during open campus. Typically, placing a Starbucks order online gives you a wait time of 4-8 minutes, but during lunch, this time increases. 

Although it has made these restaurants busier, students are happy to have open campus during lunch. Senior Lauren Geher said, “Open campus is a nice break in your day, but the parking lot can be stressful.” The parking lot during open campus concerns some seniors who do not want to lose their spot and get stuck in afternoon traffic. During the last 15 minutes of lunch, many students are returning to campus at the same time, and there is no guarantee that students will get their spot back, as JCHS does not use reserved parking spaces. 

Overall, open campus has been a positive change this school year, and senior students enjoy leaving during the lunch block. Local businesses are happy to have more customers, but it makes ordering busier and increases wait times. Hopefully, open campus will continue to be a success this school year!