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Preston County suspends homework, meal deliveries for the rest of the week

KINGWOOD — Preston County Schools suspended meal and homework deliveries to students for the rest of this week but said a way will be found to ensure students are fed.

Preston was delivering meals and homework packets for students without internet access via school bus on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“We delivered nearly 5,000 meals [Monday],” Superintendent Steve Wotring said. “That was a couple days of meals.”

Students who participate in the weekend backpack feeding program also received the backpack food.

“After the governor spoke [Monday] and said he was doing a stay at home order, we felt that we had right now enough out there and that we were going to need to regroup,” Wotring said.

The current plan is to pack five breakfasts and five lunches for each child.

“It’ll be more like we’re sending home a box of groceries, but it will be individual meals, like this is your breakfast on Monday,” Wotring explained.

Rather than door-to-door delivery, drop off locations will be used, he said.

Once details are worked out, the locations will be publicized on social media, phone calls and in the newspaper.

Another problem Wotring said counties statewide are facing is that vendors don’t have enough food. Some counties say vendors canceled their entire order. The state is working with vendors to fill in the gaps. Several people have volunteered to help with meals, Wotring said, but for the time being school personnel are handling it.

“I just don’t want to bring a lot of people into a building, because we’re not to do that,” he said.

Preston County is reimbursed for meals through the federal government. Meals are free to students. On a typical day, schools were serving more than 2,500 meals. Numbers are down now, “so that’s going to be a lot less reimbursement that we receive,” Wotring said.

“So once we get these five-day packets, the more kids that are willing to take them, that helps us with the reimbursement.”

The state funds counties for school transportation based on the number of miles traveled. That funding is based on miles traveled two years previous.

“With our buses not making regular runs right now we’re not putting on as many miles,” Wotring said. “So let’s say things get back to normal two years from now, we’re not going to have the money that typically we would have from this year.”

Teachers can continue to work from home or can go into the schools, if they wish. Some have said they don’t have adequate internet service to work from home, the superintendent said.

“Our staff has really stepped up,” he told the board of education Monday. The board’s meeting was broadcast on Live Stream. Future board meetings will be conducted by conference calls.

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