Triad Local Schools hosted the first meal distribution day during school closures Sunday. Superintendent Vickie Hoffman said over 5,000 meals were provided to more than 500 children. Pictured is a staff member helping to deliver meal bags to a pick-up location. Each meal bag contained five breakfasts and five lunches for a student. (Photo submitted)
500 of Triad’s 800 students receiving meals
While students aren’t at school, Triad staff is working to make sure each one is cared for.
During Monday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Vickie Hoffman discussed meal distribution during school closures.
On Sunday, Triad’s first meal distribution day, Hoffman said over 5,000 meals were provided for more than 500 children.
“We have a really good percentage of our families (receiving meals),” she said, adding the district has about 800 children.
Hoffman said each child was given five breakfasts and five lunches for the week.
Triad is prepared to provide meals for approximately 1,000 students, or everyone 18 years or younger living in the district, Hoffman said.
She emphasized the fact that meals are available for every student, not limited to economically disadvantaged families. As more families understand they are eligible to receive meals, she said she believes the number distributed will increase.
“I expect our 500 (children served) to go up next week,” Hoffman said, estimating between 700 and 800 children.
The district’s original food order was canceled, Hoffman explained, and adjusted to include “things we could put in bags.” She said the meals included food like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, string cheese sticks and cartons of milk.
Hoffman said, as of now, there isn’t a selection of food – such as different flavors of milk – for students to choose from but each item is clearly labeled so those with allergies know what they shouldn’t eat.
“This isn’t about ‘I want’… when you’re trying to get out over 500 meal bags,” she explained.
Depending on whether school closures are extended, she said the food order will be diversified so students “don’t get tired” of the food they’re receiving.
Despite Gov. DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton’s Stay at Home order, Hoffman said “meals will always be essential.”
Some staff members considered classified will temporarily be considered essential, if only part-time, to help prepare food, Hoffman said.
The next meal distribution will take place from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, March 29.
Individuals can pick up meals at any of the following locations: North Lewisburg – the ballpark, United Methodist Church or Meadows; Cable – the ballpark; Woodstock – Post Office; Mingo – Old Heritage Lot; and the Triad District Office.
Hoffman said parents do not need to bring their children with them to pick up meals, they will simply bring a note or have a staff member document which students they are receiving meals for.
If a family member is unable to pick up meals, they can send a signed note with the name of each child with someone else who is able to go to a distribution site.
She said families with questions should reach out to the district office, as staff will work to make accommodations and deliver food if needed.
“We’re not going to let anyone go without food,” she said.
Hoffman said the district will reevaluate and adjust the process after Sunday’s distribution, if necessary. She said Triad will potentially move to meal distributions every two weeks to limit the amount of person-to-person contact.
Along with meals, Hoffman said the district is working to provide for students educationally and emotionally.
She said online distance learning will begin on March 30. This week, there will be designated times for families to pick up Chromebooks or paper copies of their work along with any medication that was left at the school.
Meanwhile, teachers are already collaborating to stay in touch with students online.
Hoffman said the Triad Facebook page posts a story time each weekday at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., during which a staff member reads a book to students. Additionally, a science experiment video is posted every weekday at noon.
Similar to many districts, Hoffman said there is some uncertainty as to how long school closures will last. She said she watches Gov. DeWine’s press conference each day and adjusts plans daily based on new announcements.
“There’s a part of me that says just cut the cord so we can start planning (for no return to school), but that hasn’t happened yet.”
She said “Plan A” is still to return on April 6, but “Plan B” could include not returning to school this year.
Staff was stationed at different areas throughout the district, such as the ballpark, for families to pick up meal bags. If families were unable to attend, they could give a signed note with their child’s name to another individual to pick up the meals. The next pick-up day will take place Sunday, March 29. (Photos submitted)
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