What's The Risk Of School Lunch In A Classroom?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 12:36 PM, Aug 10, 2020

As the school year starts, you might be wondering about the risks of getting sick with COVID-19.  

We asked the experts: How risky is eating lunch in class?

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 from eating lunch in class is medium risk.

"If the classroom is really crowded and the kids are kind of really close together, the risk goes up. So the best thing would be for trying to make sure that the classrooms are as spread out as possible," Dr. Jasmine Marcelin, an infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medical Center, said. 

"It matters how the food is delivered to students," said Annette Anderson, deputy director for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Safe and Healthy Schools. "You also have to think about the sharing of utensils. So typically, utensils are kept in a common area, which means that lots of people all have to grab into an area for forks and knives and spoons. And so there could be some elevated risk just by having just multiple hands touching on one area."

"You don't want to share items, and it can be messy for the classroom, that it's still something that a lot of school systems are probably looking at right now," Cleveland Clinic pediatric infectious diseases specialist Dr. Frank Esper said.

For more answers on what is low, medium, or high risk, visit