Education, Latest News, Monongalia County

School lunch program takes hit

District no longer able to make meals, lining up volunteers

Gov. Jim Justice’s stay-at-home order Monday took a big bite out of Monongalia County Schools’ lunch delivery program.

In response to the governor’s order, the district announced that it is suspending the program it put into place two weeks ago after students here and across the state were sent home due to coronavirus concerns.

That doesn’t mean, though, Assistant Schools Superintendent Donna Talerico said, that meals will cease being prepared and delivered.

It’s just that the district, she said, will no longer do the cooking or carrying.

“We’re regrouping,” she said.

While lunches will be made or delivered by the district today and Wednesday, the assistant superintendent said, the district is actively lining up volunteers to make the meals, then get them to students.

That’s because county schools will now be closed to teachers and others who previously had access.

The full lockout, Talerico said, now includes cafeteria workers, and, by extension, the bus drivers who had been delivering the meals.

Talerico didn’t want to give the names of any people or organizations who have already volunteered to take over, while the district makes it overture.

“We’ll be going again this week,” she said. “I’m fully confident of that. We have the food. We just need the people to make it and deliver it.”

During his media briefing, Justice again pledged to provide meals to any idled youngster who had been relying on the school cafeteria for nutrition.

Talerico said the same.

“We just have to go at it differently,” she said.

The program, she said, had been effective and successful.

“Up until this point, we had been doing 1,000 to 2,000 meals a day,” she said. “Our cooks and our bus drivers are the true heroes.”

In the meantime, there’s still no official word from the state Department of Education whether students will go back class at the end of this week, as originally announced.

TWEET @DominionPostWV