Montclair High School officials will require freshmen and sophomores to remain on campus during lunch next year.

The requirement is due to new class period scheduling, which will result in all high school students taking lunch at the same time instead of spreading it over three class periods.

In previous years, sophomores, juniors and seniors were permitted off-campus for lunch. Freshman have never been permitted to take lunch off campus.

Lunch had been 44 minutes and will now be one hour.

Up through the 2018-2019 school year, the school day followed a nine-period schedule, with students attending classes in 44-minute periods. In the new schedule, students will take a total of eight courses each semester, with each course running for an 80-minute classes.

Parents raised concerns about the new schedule, including the prospect of all grade levels having lunch at the same time and that the local eateries couldn’t handle all the students at once.

Students were made aware that only juniors and seniors would be permitted off campus on July 19.

Freshmen will eat in the cafeteria in the George Inness Annex, while sophomores will eat in the main cafeteria, the LGI (Large Group Instruction) Room or the large gymnasium. Juniors and seniors who did not go off campus for lunch will be required to eat in the LGI room, the main cafeteria or the large gym.

In order to be able to go off-campus, juniors and seniors must have valid photo IDs and documented approval from their parents. Students leaving campus for lunch will now be required to leave through the main doors only, which will be monitored by security staff.

For the 2018-2019 school year, a total of 1,981 students left campus on average each day during the three lunch periods, from 10:33 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. For the 2019-2020 school year, the school estimates that 1,062 juniors and seniors will be off-campus during lunch.

-Erin Roll