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With in-person classes beginning August 19 in Salida, the topic of how to serve school lunches during the pandemic known as COVID-19 is of concern. During the Salida School Board meeting on August 11, the plan for serving lunches was addressed and explained.

The current working plan that follows (as with so many things surrounding COVID-19) may require adjustments to be made to keep students and staff as safe as possible. The district says that it will continue to provide healthy food for students, which will help keep student’s immune systems up.

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The plan is to implement a non-contact system. This means there will be no salad bars, fruit bars, spa water, or self-serve options.  The kitchen staff will prepare the lunch trays with an entree, vegetable, fruit, grains, and milk. The keypads will not be used by students. Staff will input student’s information after receiving lunch or breakfast due to the no contact guidelines.

Staff are still working on the breakfast plan for Longfellow Elementary students but have some ideas on how to make it work. The kitchen manager will enter all children’s numbers on the pads in the mornings for children eating breakfast. Breakfast will include one zone of grain, juice, or fruit (equal to half a cup), plus milk. They will stay with the standard components for meals as specified by the office of School Nutrition.

Lunch will be much different. Students will enter the cafeteria as a group and be seated as directed by their teachers or other staff members. Additional tables will be added to the gym and patio to allow for social distancing guidelines.

Kitchen staff will serve each student by taking out racks with the already prepared trays of food. After students have finished, the staff will collect the trays and the room will be sanitized.

For middle and high school students a plastic barrier has been set up in the serving areas. The food will be passed along by the cooks, plated, and handed over the top of the serving barrier which will include all meal components as well as a napkin and silverware.

Meals at Crest Academy will remain the same as there was no contact between staff and students before.

Sack lunches prepared for students who opt-out of in-person learning will be prepared the day before and staff from Crest Academy will collect and distribute said lunches. The Salida School District says that more information is to come.

Horizons Academy lunch plans will remain the same as the past. They will continue to use food from the garden and hope to purchase beef from local ranchers which would increase their farm-to-school program. Currently, they are working out the logistics.