Significant changes made to school meals system

Siri Mandava, Of The Talon staff

COVID-19 has brought several changes to the school system and with the recent events of students returning to school again, it has also brought changes to the lunch and breakfast systems and how those meals will be handled. 

Director of Child Nutrition Services Carmen Fischer said all meals for students come at no cost. 

“Right now all breakfast and lunches are free for all students courtesy of USDA waivers,” Fischer said. 

Principal Dr. Emily McCown said extra money was what allowed the meals to be free. 

 “This was a part of a COVID grant as a result of unemployment statistics in our region,” McCown said. 

Since not all students will be returning to school, Fischer said the district developed a plan to give those students free meals as well. 

 “We are offering grab n’ go meals on Monday and Wednesdays for students who are learning virtually,” Fischer said. 

The meals can be picked up at one of four middle school locations. Fischer said the new plan has brought other changes to the new meal plan, such as menu item availability.

 “Right now we are experiencing some challenges in getting items that we normally menu,” Fischer said.

McCown said that self-serve lines will no longer be available.

“Items will be available but not in the same self-serve lines. Salads will be premade and offered in a box as well as sandwiches,” McCown said. 

As far as how breakfast and lunches will work, there have been several changes; McCown said breakfast will open at 8 a.m. 

“Students will be able to go through the line and pick up breakfast items or snacks for the day.  If students need to sit and eat they will be assigned a seat in the Commons,” McCown said. “Lunches will be grab n’ go style with three to four options that students can grab on their way out.  There will not be a la carte items for purchase.”

Lunch for the second semester will work differently than lunch in quarter two.

“Students will be able to choose their seat but they will need to keep that seat every day.  Students will be much more spread out in the Commons than they used to be,” McCown said.

 She said that in semester two there will be four to five lunch shifts instead of the regular three to reduce the number of students in the lunchroom. 

 “They will still be able to sit with friends but they will have to sit in the exact same seat every day. We will have a seating chart that principals will walk around and check that students are sitting in the appropriate seat. This is for contact tracing purposes should we have a positive case,” McCown said.