School districts to reinstate meal programs
By Jason Browne
Grab-and-go meals are returning to St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parish Schools on March 30.
St. Bernard Schools will distribute multiple days’ worth of breakfast and lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays and a single breakfast and lunch per student on Fridays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Chalmette Elementary School, Chalmette High School (9th Grade Academy) and Smith Elementary School.
Plaquemines Schools will distribute multiple days’ worth of breakfast and lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Phoenix High School, Boothville-Venice Elementary School, South Plaquemines Elementary School and Belle Chasse High School.
Both school districts will reinstate the meal programs they and others around the state suspended March 23 after Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide Stay at Home order. Plaquemines and St. Bernard Schools were already running low on personal protective equipment like masks and gloves and cited a concern for food service workers’ safety.
Now the Louisiana Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture stepped in to increase the number of meals that can be distributed and decrease the number of participating facilities, which should curtail the number of school-to-public interactions. Additionally, the state will supply PPEs to make those interactions as sanitary as possible.
“In times like these, all we can do is the next right thing,” read a statement from St. Bernard Superintendent Doris Voitier paraphrasing Frozen 2. “Each day our school leaders listen, collaborate, evaluate and take the next best step based on what we now at that time.”
“The Plaquemines Parish School District has been anxious to resume serving meals and now feel confident that we are better equipped for the safety of all,” read a statement from Plaquemines Superintendent Denis Rousselle.
St. Bernard Schools served more than 30,000 meals over the course of five weekdays after Edwards closed all schools in the state for a month on March 13. Plaquemines Schools distributed more than 10,000 meals during that period.