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Leaving school for lunch/ errands?

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hiker1

Senior Member
When I was working we were able to leave during our lunch time. We had a 55 minute lunch period. I never did it because I didn't want to get into the habit of going out for lunch. Our school was near railroad tracks so many teachers were nervous about getting caught by a train.
 

Cassyree

Senior Member
Retired. My district still doesn't allow you to leave for lunch or to run an errand without special permission. Our lunch periods are short. Or to leave during planning. Leaving is rare.
 

Haley23

Senior Member
We are allowed, but have to sign out/back in. It's supposedly so they know who is in the building in case there is a drill or some sort of emergency.

My teammates and I used to go out constantly, earlier in my years at my current school (I'm on year 10 at the same school). In my first couple of years it was probably 2-3 days per week. One, we used to get 50 minutes for lunch, and some years our lunch and planning times were back to back. Now we have 40 minutes. Two, the workload was lighter back then. Three, we used to have a huge parking lot and now we're in a new building with a smaller lot. If you leave, you're likely to lose your parking spot and will have to park on the street. Car thefts and catalytic converter thefts are huge in my area, so nobody wants to be out on the street. Plus, the risk of someone sliding into you during winter when there is often leftover ice on the roads (no salt used here, side streets aren't plowed).

Now, I can't remember the last time I left during the day. It's probably been years. It's certainly friendlier on my wallet and waistline. I eat for about 20 minutes of my lunch, in my room with a teammate, and work through the rest. We often don't even go out on PD days anymore. On teacher work days we'll typically order doordash so we don't have to worry about the parking thing or taking extra time to drive there, wait, and drive back.
 

Lilbitkm

Senior Member
Our lunch is 25 minutes long and our specials (planning) time is 45 minutes each day. We can leave for either one if we want, as long as we don’t have any meetings scheduled.
I normally only leave if I’m picking something up for my class.
 

Sbkangas5

Senior Member
We can leave anytime we have a break or planning time. I only do to pick up something or if I forgot something at home and need to run back. My aide often goes home for lunch. I feel blessed that we have the time and space to leave if we need to.
 
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T.A.R.D.I.S

Senior Member
We can leave during lunch. It’s only 30 minutes so I’m not sure where I’d have time to go to.

My coworker and I had Door Dash deliver our lunch one day. I’ll probably do that more often once she’s back from maternity leave.
 

Teaching2nd

Senior Member
We only get 40 minutes for lunch, but our school is super close to Wendy’s, Panera, pizza places, and delis. It is fairly easy to grab lunch and still have time to get back. I go in spurts. Sometimes I am out once a week, and then I don’t leave for weeks and weeks.
 

FancyFish

Senior Member
We can leave at lunch. We can’t leave during prep time unless we check with admin for a special circumstance. I might go out for lunch once ever6 couple of weeks. There are several places nearby, as well as a supermarket with prepared wraps, salads, pizza, etc - that’s a popular spot. Most of my colleagues go to pick up food but come back to school to eat.
 

Keltikmom

Senior Member
When I was working, we were free to leave during lunch. I never did because there wasn’t anything close enough to go to and get back in time. No one left unless they lived close by…there were a few.
 

linda2671

Senior Member
I’m retired, but when I taught, we were not allowed to leave at all during the day. Our lunch break was 25 minutes. By the time we could get to the car and get anywhere, the time would be gone anyway. We could leave during our 50 minute plan time if we had special permission.
 

Meiam77

Full Member
We cannot leave during lunch or planning. Our lunch is 30 minutes. Planning is 45. I've had lunches that were 20 minutes.
I have never heard of an employer forcing people to stay in a building during lunch hours. That is beyond disgusting and another example of the poor treatment of teachers in some states.
 

Meiam77

Full Member
Retired. My district still doesn't allow you to leave for lunch or to run an errand without special permission. Our lunch periods are short. Or to leave during planning. Leaving is rare.
Assuming you were in a non-union state. Don't even see how that passes the Dept. of Labor standards to be honest. When you are off the clock for lunch you should not be under anyone else's control.
 

Meiam77

Full Member
We are professionals and treated as such. We can leave for lunch or planning (should be school related during planning).
 

Tori58

Senior Member
I was always allowed to leave for lunch if I had time, but I rarely did it. In my last job, we were asked to let the secretary know any time we were going to be out of the building. The public school district where I worked for many years was very lax about this. There were teachers who had prep scheduled next to their lunch break so they'd go home for lunch and stay for half their prep. We had a teacher who travelled between buildings with enough time to do his laundry on the way. We passed the town laundromat on the half mile trip between buildings, so he'd stop and put his clothes in the washers on his way to the elementary, stop and stick them in the dryers on his way back so they'd be dry and ready to fold after school.

Don't even see how that passes the Dept. of Labor standards to be honest.
So true. I've never been able to figure out, even in a state with strong labor laws and strong teachers unions, which Wisconsin was when I first moved here, teachers apparently didn't have as many rights as manufacturing or retail workers.
 

cruxian

Senior Member
I did at the first school I taught it. It was in a more urban area, I had a small child and was often so frazzled,, busy, exhausted that I didn't always have a lunch packed so would run out, get a lunch, and bring it back to eat. Looking back, I'm not sure that I ever asked permission lol but just assumed it was okay.
Since then I haven't left during lunch. Largely, it's a logistial issue. It's a more suburban area. and our lunches are short so I don't. I guess if I really wanted to, I could pop out but our lunch is both early and short.
 

WordFountain

Senior Member
We are allowed, but have to sign out/back in. It's supposedly so they know who is in the building in case there is a drill or some sort of emergency.

My school was the same as Haley. I worked in a small coastal urban “city“ so there were several great places to get food or coffee. If we ran out it was to walk about 2 blocks to pickup take-out. Our gym teacher took a walk every morning and would do a coffee run for some of us. It was a small school and most of us had worked together for years. Regarding errands, I lived an hour from my school so there were no errands. Sometimes though if my class was particularly rough that day I would go outside and take a walk up to the beach / boardwalk, breath the fresh air, and come back. This was all done during my actual lunch period and not during planning/prep time.
 

kahluablast

Senior Member
We only get 30 minutes for lunch and there is only a gas station in that kind of time range. Occasionally we used to (precovid) order lunch from the gas station and someone who had a plan period backed up to their lunch had to go pick it up.

We are allowed to go. I have once in a while ran home to get something I needed and out of courtesy I let the office know I am leaving. Technically if we left during plan time, you would have to take some time off. If you had to run home to pick up things for school, it would be fine.
 

wildflowerz

Senior Member
Assuming you were in a non-union state. Don't even see how that passes the Dept. of Labor standards to be honest. When you are off the clock for lunch you should not be under anyone else's control.
We were not allowed to leave for lunch or planning and we had a very strong union and treated well by admin.

Logistically, there wouldn’t be time to leave, even if it was permitted. Our district wants teachers available in case something should happen to a student or if there was any other emergency.

We had a gym teacher who travelled between schools. He was in a bad accident on the way to one of the schools. I also travelled between schools ant the time and saw his banged up car and ambulance. I let the schools know and they scrambled to get coverage for him. Luckily he was mostly ok and only missed a week of school.
 

Cassyree

Senior Member
Assuming you were in a non-union state. Don't even see how that passes the Dept. of Labor standards to be honest. When you are off the clock for lunch you should not be under anyone else's control.
There is NO federal mandate/law that requires a lunch break anywhere! I know many of you think there must be. Wrong. Many states also do not have such a law. Corporate policies, some state and local governments, or contracts (union or not) may require them, but lunch breaks are not the automatic right you mistakenly believe them to be.

 

whatever

Senior Member
I get 25 minutes for lunch and 50 minutes for plan. This year, they back up to each other so technically the 4 minute passing period is added in this time. And I am in a seperate, exterior building so I can park right outside my classroom door. Our little town doesn't have a lot to choose from for restaurants or errands-- I don't have the time or places for "eating out."

Technically, I am to check out if it is during plan--I can just call the secretary so that is not a huge deal. I can and sometimes do leave and pick up something for lunch. Like some of the others, I might leave 2-3 a week and then go a month without leaving at all. It sometimes depends on how organized my home life is-- If I am on the ball, I will bring my lunch or keep groceries in the classroom.

I think it matters that some districts view the plan time as personal time and some view it as contract time. It probably depends on your district definition.
 

TheGr8Catsby

Senior Member
I have never heard of an employer forcing people to stay in a building during lunch hours. That is beyond disgusting and another example of the poor treatment of teachers in some states.
We actually have an hourly rate, even though we are salaried. We are contracted 7.5 hours/day with a paid lunch.

The logistics behind that is that not every building gets the exact same number of minutes for lunch (I believe we're all 25-30, though). We are duty-free "for the same amount of time as the students," which admin has stretched to mean for the shortest student (i.e. the last student to leave the lunch line).
 

 

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