Current Considerations in K-12 School Foodservice

Sep 30, 2020 1:42:56 PM / by Ignite Foodservice Solutions

Back to School- Covid- Canva

 

First and foremost, welcome back to school! As schools open and are trying to regain a sense of normalcy, things may look a little different. Between new regulations and protocols to figuring out ways to make the return as easy and as safe as possible, one concern everyone has is how foodservice will be handled. How can we implement the safest measures to protect students, staff, and anyone that walks through the school doors? 

 

Be Prepared To Be Flexible

 
Being ready for anything to change at any moment is the way of life currently. Maintaining an open mind to being flexible and trying new things is a must. The SNA recently released a guide to get the conversation going on the topic of reopening schools, and how to safely do so. The report discusses how important flexibility is as we face new challenges daily.
 
Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 2.44.45 PMWith restaurants relying primarily on takeout orders and individually wrapped menu items, that leads the potential risk of short supply when schools begin to use the same products, and in turn, creates worry on how to deal with that should the issue arise. You can read more about pushing a flexible agenda into the day to day plans all across school activities on page 7 the COVID-19 school reopening report (click the report image to learn more).

 

Classroom Delivery vs. Take Home Meals

 
Mastering multiple methods and modes of meal service (page 8) is one of the highlights of the article. The discussion addresses the ongoing topic of classroom delivery as well as providing meals for students to take home, with shorter days on campus in consideration. There's also the option of curbside pick up or delivery to students on the days they may be doing virtual learning to help limit big crowds and hopefully prevent the spread of the virus.
 
Variations of ideas on how to provide meals are being discussed, and the main suggestion is to keep students in their classrooms to eat lunch so that schools can maintain smaller groups of students together at a time. Delivering individually packaged meals to each classroom seems like the safest suggestion.

 

Simplified Menu

 

With things changing drastically, some menu items won't be as easy to serve this year. Communal options for things like fruit, water, and other drinks in pitchers will be something of the past. If fruit is included in meals, it'll follow the guidelines of being individually packaged to keep health and wellness in mind. To help adjust, some schools may need to rely on the assistance of volunteers and teachers (page 15) to prep and deliver these meals, which may require training on how to properly handle items and carriers.

 

Cleaning & Sanitizing

 

Throughout the pandemic, sanitization has been on the front lines when it comes to monitoring safety. Setting the standard on how students and staff will be able to wash their hands throughout the day, and before and after they eat is important. This also includes how products used to deliver foodservice items will be cleaned and sanitized between uses. For example, if students can come to the cafeteria in staggered groups (per classroom), and return to their class with their lunch, then the serving lines will need to be properly wiped down and sanitized after each group leaves and the next group arrives (page 20).

No matter the challenge, we understand the current situations with COVID-19 can be stressful and hard to deal with at times. The changes we're facing can feel like a lot of major decisions are being made very quickly. We're here to help make the transition easier. Check out our school resources page to help you navigate the best foodservice solutions for school systems, and sign up for your free assessment below. 

 

For more ideas on how to implement the safest strategies when it comes to reopening schools and providing foodservice, reach out to the experts at Ignite Foodservice Solutions for your FREE school foodservice assessment.

 

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Tags: school nutrition, trends