GREENVILLE — Adhering to the Ohio Department of Education and Federal Government guidelines to keep the lunch service going for area students has proved a challenge. However, education leaders are up for it, said Superintendent Doug Fries on Tuesday.
According to Fries, while the plan took a few days to implement with food delivery to cafeteria staff last Thursday, the implementation of the program with a boxed lunch delivery via school bus at designated bus stops began the following day on Friday, March 20.
Director of Administrative Services, Jeffrey Cassell, stated the district delivered 174 lunches on Friday with 254 on Monday.
While he had yet to see the numbers for Tuesday’s delivery, Cassell was expecting well over 300 lunches.
Adherence to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on social distance requirements means a food staff of five is in rotation, preparing, boxing, and taking box lunches out to school buses along with custodial help, and only two drivers on eight buses to serve the district — one to drive and one to pass out food.
“It’s been a real team effort,” said Cassell with the delivery beginning around 10:50 a.m. and the last bus returning around 12:35 p.m. for a roughly 90-minute delivery system that consists of those under the age of 65. Again, adhering to requirements in regards to COVID-19.
The expectation is to provide lunch to area students in need as “we felt it was important to have a hot meal available each day,” said Cassell.
The first two days of delivery also included backpacks with nonperishable food items for students.
Both Fries and Cassell commended Tonya Wright, Food Service Manager, and her staff, along with Mary Rodriguez, Transportation Supervisor, and her staff for all the work they put in to coordinate this service.
They also gave a special thanks to Carol Riffle, EMIS Coordinator, who is working remotely to coordinate the effort to get lunches to students, even making sure that food allergy requirements are met.
For the service, parents or students must call between 9 and 11 a.m. for next day service with lunch to be delivered between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. For every day delivery, only one call is necessary.
K-4 students should call (937) 548-3185 ext. 3000 or 3001
5-8 students should call (937) 548-3185 ext. 2000 or 2002
High school students should call (937) 548-3185 ext. 1000 or 1001
Lunches are also available for those who normally walk to school.
Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more news, features, and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.