School lunch adapts to safety rules

Ellarry PrenticePrint Sartell - St. Stephen, Sartell – St. StephenLeave a Comment

by Mike Knaak

When students return to school next week, they’ll find changes in how they eat lunch.

Some students will be eating in their classrooms, there will be fewer menu and a la carte options and transactions will be touchless and cashless.

“We’ve been working hard on developing a plan to make sure they are able to social distance in the lunchroom,” Food Services Director Shelby Tanner said.

Unique plans for each building have been developed. In-person instruction will be in place for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The Middle School and High School are opening in the hybrid model with in-person attendance on alternating days.

At Oak Ridge Early Learning Center, breakfast will be delivered to students. At lunch time, meals will be picked up and the students will return to their classrooms to eat.

At Pine Meadow Primary School and Riverview Intermediate School students will pick up breakfast and lunch and eat in classrooms.

At the Middle School and High School, breakfasts will be picked up and they will be socially distanced to eat. For lunch, students will pick up trays and be directed to designated areas.

“No matter what the learning scenario, students will have access to nutritious school meals,” Tanner said.

Pickup meals will be available at the high school, Door 23, for students following a distance learning plan. A change from the spring, meals will not be free, except for students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, but that could change.

 “At this point, this is our plan,” Tanner said. “However, we receive updates from the Minnesota Department of Education/Food and Nutrition Services weekly, so if there are any changes to this plan, we will be sure to let families know in a timely manner.”

Meals need to be ordered online by noon the previous day so the correct number of meals can be prepared.

Because of health rules, there will be no salad bar and staff will serve each person. Principals adjusted lunch times so students will have time to eat while maintaining social distancing.

Tanner moved up to the director position after serving one year as assistant. She earned a master’s degree in nutrition and exercise science from South Dakota State University and she earned her undergraduate degree in dietetics from the University of St. Catherine.

Shelby Tanner


Author: Ellarry Prentice

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