Task force recommends Jeffco Public Schools extend lunch periods

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GOLDEN, Colo. -- Students in some Jeffco Public Schools are getting less than 20 minutes to eat, according to a report released by the district.

That report was compiled by a volunteer task force, which spent the past year interviewing students about food and nutrition.

It found students at some schools are getting as little as 17 minutes to stand in line, get lunch and eat it.

"Time was something that came up frequently," said Dr. Tom McDermott.

McDermott sat on the task force, which was composed mostly of parents, students and nutritional experts.

"The recommendation from the task force was a minimum of 30 minutes, with the acknowledgement that if we had 30 minutes for lunch, that would equate to roughly 20 minutes of seated time.," he said.

McDermott says the district will consider the change, but acknowledges it would have wide-ranging impacts from class times to bus schedules.

He says staffing issues among cafeteria staff have also led to longer lines and less time to eat.

"At what time would you have to start and end lunch if you were extending period times as well as staffing? So we've got a lot of different factors that, while it seems like a relatively simple decision to just extend everybody's lunch, there are a lot of ripple effects," McDermott said.

The task force also recommended increasing access to healthy foods.

The district is already delivering on that recommendation, with plans to pilot salad bars in nearly a dozen schools next year.

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