Waterbury is one of the many Connecticut school districts making "grab and go" meals available for their students during the mandated closure of schools for coronavirus precautions.
Beginning Monday, March 16, students will be able to pick up breakfast and lunch at any one of 25 schools around the city between 9:00 a.m. and noon.
The meals will be pre-packaged by the District's Food Service Department. A complete list of the locations can be found at www.waterbury.k12.ct.us.
“I have grandkids, so I worry for them too," said Waterbury Public Schools food service staff member Lucia Guerrera.
Like many of us adjusting to precautionary coronavirus measures, Guerrera admits life has been a little hectic.
She and her colleagues have been working quickly to cook and pack up grab and go breakfast and lunches for Waterbury students.
This is the first time she's experienced something like this in her 31-years working at the school.
Superintendent Dr. Verna D. Ruffin shared similar sentiments, “Of course we’re learning as we go. We’re learning very quickly. And, we’re doing the best that we can in a situation that we could not have predicted three weeks ago.”
A Waterbury Public Schools spokersperson says all Waterbury students are eligible for the free school meals and at last count two-thirds of them take advantage of them.
She says therefore 12,500 out of 19,000 students usually rely on their meals, so that’s why they want to continue this option for students despite school closures.
"This was critically important that we extended a meal format for our students to come and get our meals," said Dr. Ruffin.
Like meal preparations, it’s been a whirlwind community effort to get learning materials together for students too.
Along with food, Waterbury teachers and staff have created educational packets. Something that’s especially important if the students don’t have access to internet resources.
Dr. Ruffin says she’s pleased the district has had more than 5,000 clicks for their website for online learning resources, but they want to let parents know they have hard copies of information available too that can be picked up at the schools.
She says while they understand the hardships parents should try to set a routine which includes quiet time for their kids.
Monday, she and many unsung heroes like Guerrera, are working hard behind-the-scenes to keep kids safe during this undeniably different time.