Reopening: Child Nutrition

School meals will continue to be available to all students, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely. 

For information about how meal information will be communicated, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.


Meals on-site

For students on-site, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced.

The district will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating in the school cafeteria. If eating in the cafeteria is not feasible, meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms) or in staggered meal periods to ensure social distancing and proper cleaning and disinfection between students.

The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet-style meals, snacks) is prohibited, unless individuals are members of the same household. Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty and staff to observe social distancing while eating meals.

Primary level considerations (Pre-K-Grade 5)

  • Students on-site daily
    • Breakfast service “grab and go” style to the classroom for grades 1-5
    • Breakfast after the bell, classroom delivery for prekindergarten, kindergarten and self-contained classrooms (if desired)
    • Lunch classroom service/classroom dining with staggered meal times and support for classroom-specific ordering/delivery
    • Cycle menu with alternate entrées available, all items pre-packaged, all students receive all required components
  • On-site and virtual learning
    • Options as above for days or groups of students on-site 
    • Take-home meals provided at dismissal for days when not in attendance (or meal period if half-day model)
    • Determine criteria for receiving off-site meals: request vs. opt-in vs. automatic

Secondary level considerations (Grades 6-12)

  • Students on-site daily
    • Breakfast “grab and go” style to the classroom upon entry
    • Multiple points of service feasible
    • Staggered start times to decrease crowding
    • Breakfast after the bell, classroom delivery for self-contained classrooms (if desired)
    • Lunch traditional service and dining may be available to small groups daily or in a rotation with adequate time for cleaning and disinfecting
    • Lunch classroom service/classroom dining with staggered meal times
    • Cycle menu with alternate entrées available, all items pre-packaged, all students receive all required components
  • On-site and virtual learning
    • Options as above for days or groups of students on-site 
    • Option for cafeteria service with safety measures in place for self-contained classes
    • Take-home meals provided at dismissal for days when not in attendance (or meal period if half-day model)
    • Determine criteria for receiving off-site meals: request vs. opt-in vs. automatic

All items will be pre-wrapped/pre-packaged and served to students. 

For “grab and go” breakfast, students will be required to wait 6 feet apart in line. However, we anticipate multiple serving lines to reduce or eliminate a line forming. Students will not touch any food items in the line. Servers will wear PPE and maintain proper social distancing. Staffing and employee duties will be kept consistent to ensure contact tracing is possible if necessary.

Nurses will send a food allergy report to the kitchen in each building. A food allergy report will be available at “grab and go” stations, food allergies will be noted for each student by classroom in the point-of-sale system that will generate the rosters for classroom feeding.

The district will train students, faculty and staff on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, and such information will be provided to parents and guardians on ways to reinforce this at home. 

The district will provide and maintain hand hygiene stations around the school, as follows:

  • For handwashing: soap, running warm water and disposable paper towels
  • For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where handwashing facilities may not be available or practical
  • The district will make accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made

Students will receive all required meal components. Perishable items the student does not want will be collected by a single adult that is supervising the students during their meal period. Students can keep non-perishable items (i.e., bagged animal crackers) for consumption off-site.

Students will be socially distanced and not permitted to share food items. All food will be cleared away and stored at the end of the meal period to discourage eating outside of scheduled meal times, and all remnants and trash will be disposed of in an appropriate receptacle.

In the classroom, meals will be consumed at desks 6 feet apart. 

In central dining locations, if used, students will sit at tables with greater than 6 feet between them. Physical barriers will be put in place if students cannot socially distance. All dining areas will be cleared after students exit. Maintenance and food service staff will work together to clear the area of all trash, clean floors as needed and disinfect tables, benches and serving lines with effective disinfectants following all guidelines for proper use. 

Each school will provide adequate time between serving periods to ensure thorough and effective disinfecting will occur. 

All menus and meal service models will be in compliance with the rules and regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the New York State departments of health and education. All areas of meal service will be monitored by both district and Whitson’s directors. 

The district will provide applicable training for all staff involved in meal service. The district will properly apply for and implement waivers where needed, and the district will take corrective action measures immediately if needed.


Meals off-site/remote

Due to USDA-approved waivers, service methods may be “grab and go,” curb-side pick-up or delivery, dependent upon the waivers that may be offered.

In hybrid models, students may take home meals for days not on-site.

The district will prepare for and develop methods to assess gaps in off-site service (i.e., sites not accessible, transportation, weather, family-specific conflicts). The district will consider bulk packaging and multiple days of meals served at one time if permissible.

The district will determine if provision will be:

  • As requested (e.g., order placed on Wednesday for pick-up the following Tuesday)
  • Opt-in: meals quantity per student/frequency selected when school is closed or remote learning is selected
  • Automatic for all remote learners

Meals can be available daily or provided for multiple days at a time. Pick-up and delivery models will be required to meet specific family needs, if both are permitted through USDA-approved waivers.