Evaluation of simulation modeling of university dining hall COVID-19 reopening plans

Patrick Imbornoni, Julio G. Lazo, In Gyu Lee, Arushi Agarwal, Soongeol Kwon, Sang Won Yon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping and complicating the world. Nowhere has it been more controversial and complex than in reopening plans for schools. Observing student behavior indicates that the dining hall services are a major area of concern in reopening plans. Careful consideration and focus need to be taken into account for dealing with high demands in short timeframes experienced at dining halls. The removal of masks while eating increases the probability of spreading germs between individuals, forming a potential hotspot for spreading if a breakout were to occur. The dining halls are a complex system, in which modeling student behavior becomes critical conditions for determining results. Using Simio, a simulation and modeling software, three dining hall models were created and analyzed to determine the optimal number of people that should be allowed into the system where COVID-19 protocols could be followed but did not cause workstations to be idle. Parameters for the simulations were created from student conducted time studies. Simulation provided the ability to effectively compare alternative models with different conditions. Cycle time as well as queuing time and length were calculated for each model, which indicated the effectiveness of the system on meeting demand. The instructional models were compared to the baseline model to validate the dining hall COVID-19 reopening policies. The analysis proved guidelines for the dining halls would help limit the number of close contacts and get students through the system quickly; overall helping campus dining services serve students safely and quickly.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIISE Annual Conference and Expo 2021
EditorsA. Ghate, K. Krishnaiyer, K. Paynabar
PublisherInstitute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, IISE
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781713838470
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventIISE Annual Conference and Expo 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 2021 May 222021 May 25

Publication series

NameIISE Annual Conference and Expo 2021


ConferenceIISE Annual Conference and Expo 2021
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 IISE Annual Conference and Expo 2021. All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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