by Malcolm Spurlock
A point of sale system will be installed in each cafeteria in the Westfield school district by mid-February, computerizing the way students will purchase their lunches.
According to District Director of Dining Services Kathryn Tropeano, the new technology allows students different options for buying food and will assist students who frequently forget lunch money. Students will be assigned an account with a four-digit pin number that can be used each time they wish to make purchases.
"I frequently find myself out of money and a system such as this will limit the amount of money I need to borrow from my friends," said junior Will Cary.
To fill up this account, students can add money from a home computer or bring in cash or a check to give to a cafeteria cashier to place in their accounts. Although an account will be created for each student, they still have the option to pay in cash.
WHS students will be able to use their student ID as a credit card to swipe in purchases.
"As a teacher living in a digital world, I mainly carry cards on me and find myself scrambling to find dollar bills. I approve of this new system and will find it personally helpful," said English Teacher Kim Gosen-Fowler.
"The lines should move more quickly, since cashiers will be dealing with less cash," said Tropeano. She added that her favorite part about introducing this system is that students who qualify for a free or reduced lunch will be less conspicuous while purchasing lunch among other students.
Though the main purpose of the account is for handling money transactions, according to Tropeano, it will also note a student’s dietary needs. If a student has a food allergy, it can be listed in the student’s account. When the student attempts to buy something through the account, it will flag the item(s) containing the allergen, making students more aware of what foods they are buying.
"Considering my numerous food allergies, it’s important for me to know what I am eating, and this new system will give me the assurance to try buying different foods in the cafeteria," said senior Allyson Panton.
According to Tropeano, the cafeteria staff is also devoted to making sure that there are numerous healthy and delicious options for all students. Besides the salad bar, the cafeteria offers alternative meals for both vegans and vegetarians.
The cafeteria staff now purchases more local produce instead of processed foods. They also made deals with companies like Boar’s Head in order to offer fresh cold cuts.
"[Boar’s Head] is wonderful because it’s great to be able to offer such a popular menu item in such a high quality way," said Tropeano.