Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Minnesota school meal programs require new calculations in the pandemic

To provide food for students at school and home, districts have gotten creative


November 6, 2020

Elizabeth Flores – Star Tribune

Kitchen assistants Bettie Ronning, left, and Amy Coughlin handed out school lunches to students and residents at Richfield High School on Oct. 28.

Not so long ago, school lunch meant a line in a cafeteria, students waiting their turns with trays in hand.

But this fall, Minnesota schools are cooking up something far more complicated. Meals are now served to students spread out in socially distanced classrooms, packaged up for curbside pickup and delivered - sometimes by school bus - to students' homes. There are new considerations, like which foods can stay fresh for students who pick up a week's worth of meals, and which menu items can be easily prepared by students at home, even if they don't have a parent's help or access to an oven.

In the COVID-19 era, school nutrition programs are running increasingly complex operations, filling a critical need for families facing disruptions to their schedules, health and finances. Nearly eight months into the pandemic, school leaders say they've learned to adapt and reach students whenever and wherever they are participating in school.


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