School lunches will look very different across the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just as every school district has created its own learning model, each school district has developed its own plan for feeding students throughout the day.
In Manchester, students will receive a grab-and-go breakfast when they arrive. High school students will eat their breakfast in the courtyard, while the lower grade levels will eat in the classroom, according to Nicholas Aldi, the food service director for Manchester Public Schools.
The high school days are shortened, so students will get lunch when leaving the building to go home. For the other grades, school staff will be delivering lunch to the individual classrooms.
“It’s going to be challenging regardless what district you’re at. It’s obviously a different process than we used to do in the past. But we’ve been all along since this pandemic started, offering curbside meals. So as far as packaging and making sure the food was getting where it needs to go and maintaining the proper temperatures, we’ll be able to achieve this,” Aldi said.
For students learning remotely in Manchester, curbside pickup will be offered to parents, just as it was in the spring.
The Consolidated School District of New Britain set up large tents at each school, which students will be able to eat under.
“I have a mobile kiosk at the tent to feed the children outside underneath the tents during the school day and I think that’s a good opportune time for a child to have a mask break and then have a nice meal under the tent outside,” said Jeff Taddeo, the resident district manager for Whitsons Culinary Group, New Britain’s food service provider.
In Newington, students will preorder their lunch in the morning using a Google form. Students will then be seated six feet apart for lunch and will use plastic expandable shields while eating.
There will also be changes for families picking up meals during the days when students are not in school.
“The big issue is in the spring when we had our shutdown, those were all free meals, that was a federal program. That has not been reupped, so the kids who will avail themselves to these meals, they will have to pay what the typical price is,” said Maureen Brummett, the superintendent for Newington Public Schools.
As each school district navigates a new way of serving food, students will spend the first few days of school being trained on all the new safety protocols.