Schools prepare to welcome students back to cafeterias

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 10:38 AM EDT
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GILES COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - With schools welcoming kids back to the classroom, the way lunchtime is typically handled could look different for some.

Giles County Public School’s (GCPS) was able to share how they will be welcoming kids back to cafeterias --- all while keeping them safe and socially distant.

“Our employees work super hard; they want to make sure every child is fed, is nourished and is taken care of. So we did that throughout the shutdown and we continue to do that now,” said Christy Lawson, the Food Service Supervisor at GCPS.

After delivering a record number of meals to students for more than a year during the pandemic, GCPS is preparing to welcome kids back to school cafeterias.

“We will stop delivering meals, and we’re going back to our traditional meal delivery for students. We will have --they will come through the kitchens through the cafeterias, and of course, maintaining as much social distance as possible. Everyone will just try to go back to normal, but we are going through the serving lines; we’re going back to regular school trays and silverware instead of plastics,” said Lawson.

Lunch trays and silverware will be washed frequently, and students will have lots of fresh options.

“We are having salad bars in the high schools and students will be asked to wear gloves and lather up real good before they come through the line,” said Lawson.

Lawson says with more kids coming back they’ll also be going back to cooking many meals from scratch.

“We’re going to use this year; we weren’t able to use that last year because of the current concept of foods. So this year, we are going to go back to some scratch cooking, and we’ll use our locally grown beef to make homemade hotdogs, chili, spaghetti sauce, taco meat, everything like that. We also were able to secure berries through our agricultural lab,” said Lawson.

GCPS’s agricultural lab is one of the few programs in the area to grow its own berries for smoothies and raise beef for school lunches. School health leaders also say each school district will set its own COVID-19 health guidelines for specific lunchrooms.

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