ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) – While school doors remain closed, the Roanoke County school district is continuing to provide thousands of free meals for its students.
This comes after school officials announced a change to their meal service options.
In order to protect the health of staff members by minimizing their contact with the public, Roanoke County Public Schools (RCPS) decided to scaled back on bus meal deliveries.
The new service options were implemented on April 13 after faculty returned from Spring Break.
Since schools were closed on March 16, the school district has handed out over 50,000 meals through meal deliveries and pick-ups.
“This is not something that we normally do as schools. It’s something that we’ve learned how to do, and the different schools have really got this down to good processes that work well for the families, as well as the staff, because we want to keep everybody safe,” says Dr. Ken Nicely, Roanoke County Public Schools Superintendent.
For three weeks, bagged meals of both breakfast and lunch were delivered using normal bus routes.
Meals were also available for curbside pick-up at participating schools across the county.
Although the school system’s revised meal service options started last week, it’s not stopping parents from receiving free meals.
On April 17, WFXR got a closer look at meal pick-ups at Burlington Elementary School.
Schools officials say the location is one of the busiest in the county, serving an average of 300 meals a day.
They say it’s important that kids have access to meals, because for some, it might be the only meals they get for the day.
One staff member, who participated in handing out meals, says it’s been hard to not see her students every day.
“I won’t get to see them move on up. It’s been a mixture of feelings with that, but it is always great to see them, even just for a few seconds, to pass out some meals,” says Sherri Woods, instructional assistant at Mount Pleasant Elementary School.
While the confirmed cases of coronavirus continue to rise throughout the Commonwealth, Woods says parents are gaining a new perspective on just how important teachers are in the community.
“They’re gaining a lot more insight to things we do with the kids on a daily basis so they’re beginning to understand that,” says Woods, “Until you’re in those shoes, you can’t really understand what it’s like to be in that position.”
Parents are encouraged to pick-up meals every week day from noon to 1 p.m. at any of the school district’s nine participating schools:
- Burlington Elementary School
- Cave Spring Middle School
- Glen Cove Elementary School
- Glenvar High School
- Green Valley Elementary School
- Herman L. Horn Elementary School
- Mount Pleasant Elementary School
- Oak Grove Elementary School
- William Byrd Middle School
Special delivery options for families are available, but only by request.
For more information about Roanoke County Public School’s meal services, visit their website here.
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