Cooking, baking, and eating-all three are fundamentals of the Intro to Foods class at Camas High School. Baking cookies and handing out homemade muffins are both key activities for the class. But COVID restrictions have seriously put a damper on the class’s privileges. The CDC says that when masks are off, 6 feet of space is required between each person. Not to mention, cooking and handling foods can spread germs easily. Along with that, remote students enrolled in the class obviously cannot contribute to the cooking that might be done in class. So, what does Intro to Foods class look like now?
When students were fully remote, the class consisted of modified recipes that students would cook at home. “Kids did some cooking at home, not everything, but some of the things I was able to provide ingredients for,” The instructions were sent out via video, similar to a cooking show. “I worked in my own kitchen and I videoed myself preparing all these things at home.”, says Ms. Fuller. Even with the long-distance cooking, Freshman Kai Norman had fun with the fully remote lessons. “Since we got to cook it was nice, she taught us how to actually hold a knife.”
When the hybrid schedule began, the class’s focus had to be changed. Rather than cooking in class, students focused more on the theory of cooking and baking in their classes. “We cannot be cooking in here at all,” Ms. Fuller starts. “I demonstrate here so they still at least get to taste the food.” The reason for the ban on cooking is due to both the room set-up and the close proximity of students when cooking. The 3-foot rule between students plus the small classroom space has forced many of the desks up against the few ovens, blocking the way to potential kitchens. Along with that, when students cook they gather in close proximity to work together which breaks the 3-foot rule.
All in all, the Intro to foods class has suffered tremendously from the pandemic. Many students are choosing to retake the class next year in order to actually get the experience they signed up for. “It’s been a real struggle and I feel sorry for the kids,” says Mrs. Fuller. But even with these challenges, the students persist. According to both Elle Waller and Kai Norman, learning how to properly hold a knife was a lesson the pandemic couldn’t take away.