Open Campus Provides Benefits
Although WHS administration has no plans to implement an open campus policy, a recent trend in many American high schools has been the implementation of that type of policy.
Open campus refers to a set of policies that allow students to leave campus when they are not in an enrolled class, which includes lunch or a study hall.
Principal Tyler Keener said his main concern about this type of policy would be about students who take advantage of open campus and do not return to their classes. He said his other concern would be student safety and not knowing the whereabouts of students in times of emergency.
In a study by Shirlee Lichtman-Sadot, Assistant Professor at Ben-Gurion University, titled “Improving Academic Performance through Conditional Benefits,” published in December 2015 at Ben-Gurion University, a link was made between increased academic achievement and open campus policies.
“This paper provides further evidence that incentivizing students through short-term rewards, not related to their prospects in life or their personal sense of achievement, but rather just to being eligible to eat off-campus for lunch, may be effective in improving student academic outcomes.”
Another study titled “Off the Map: Extracurricular School Food Open Campus,” conducted by a staff attorney for the Public Health Advocacy Institute, Marlo Miura, J.D., M.A., explores the nutritional benefits of having an open campus lunch.
“High schools tend to have unhealthier school food environments than elementary schools. Open and closed school campus policies have the potential to affect students’ health, safety and security, as well as to influence the school environment itself in these areas.”
The study shows open campus lunch can be beneficial to students by offering a wider range of options for eating.
Keener advised that implementing any such system at WHS would take time, the backing of parents and careful planning.