School Meals Continue
March 19, 2020
Several area school districts are making plans to feed students even though school is closed for the foreseeable future.
Leading the way is the county’s largest district, Shawnee. Superintendent Dr. April Grace said in a letter to parents Tuesday that the district will deliver meals to students beginning Monday, March 23. Meals will be delivered along bus routes twice a day — morning and afternoon — as long as schools are closed.
There will be several people on the bus “to help with the drops so they can spread out and not have large gatherings,” Grace said. Final details were still being worked out at press time, but she said the first drop will probably be from 8:30-11 am and another at 1 pm.
Check the district’s website or Facebook page for the latest information, or call 878-1028 to make sure your student(s) get meals.
Other districts were still working on plans at press time. Tecumseh Superintendent Tom Wilsie said they have been “discussing this possibility for several days now in preparation for the unknown. Last week the Oklahoma State Department of Education Child Nutrition Program made application to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for waivers related to a school district being allowed to provide student meal service during possible school closures. Two waivers were approved on March 14 that allow schools flexibility in the service of student meals.”
The waivers allow for an alternative or “grab and go” meal service to limit interaction and proximity, reducing the risk of coronavirus exposure; this flexibility would allow possible meal deliveries away from school.
Also waived is the requirement that school meal operations must be served at a school site during unanticipated school closure. This will allow food service staff to prepare the alternative or “grab and go” meals at school sites.
Two additional waivers have been submitted and are awaiting approval, Wilsie said.
“We are currently planning for the most effective and efficient method to ensure that all students will have access to two meals each day during the closure,” the superintendent said. Details will be announced as soon as possible and information posted on the school website.
Others are not even at that point. Here are the other responses received by the newspaper:
• “This decision and many others are still very premature depending on additional information and local needs and decisions.” — Tod Harrison, Bethel Public Schools.
• “We are working on the details of providing meals.” — Matt Riggs, Macomb Public Schools.
• “We are looking into the possibility of starting next week. Nothing has been decided yet!” — Terry Grissom, Asher Public Schools.
Check school websites as well as The Countywide & Sun website and Facebook pages for updates.