By Steve Powell
MARYSVILLE – Gov. Jay Inslee’s edict shutting down restaurants due to the COVID-19 coronavirus also has forced the Marysville School District to change plans for feeding students during the six-week closure.
The district had planned to allow students to eat at Liberty Elementary School and elsewhere. But because of the ban, students are now picking up their lunch and breakfast and leaving.
Next week, the district plans to send meals out on bus schedules to deliver food closer to students’ homes. There also will be drive-through service at Liberty for those who don’t have a bus route.
“We’re not hitting all the kids we can,” superintendent Jason Thompson said Tuesday as to why the change to the bus system. Liberty kitchen manager Angie Blankenship said they served 64 breakfasts and lunches on the first day. One of the issues was keeping people spread out in an effort to respect the social distancing of 6 feet. “We took them one family at a time” through the food line, she said.
Finance director Mike Sullivan added, “We didn’t want them to bunch together. We want to spread them out” over the two-hour time period from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Blankenship added that while kitchen staff is glad they can keep working they do get a little nervous when sick people go through the line. “Money or health?” she said.
Thompson thanked them for working during these trying times.
For lunch Tuesday there was a choice of pepperoni or cheese pizza, with apple slices, cauliflower and milk, regular or chocolate. For breakfast Wednesday the sack lunch included yogurt, graham crackers, juice and an apple. “We’re using what we have now, but will have more of a meal plan next week,” Blankenship said.
MSD is still working on its child care plan for students of health care workers and first responders. It hopes to work with the Marysville Boys and Girls Club and YMCA and possibly others to keep numbers down at each location. That should start next week.
As for learning opportunities for students while they are away, that hasn’t even been discussed yet. There was supposed to be a meeting Thursday with teachers, but it was canceled.
“We want to keep everybody away,” Thompson said.