Virus Outbreak Maryland school lunch lunches

Anne Arundel County, Md. residents receive free breakfast, lunch and dinner, at a mobil stop in Annapolis, Monday, March 16, 2020. Anne Arundel County is providing free meals for students while schools are closed for two weeks due to coronavirus concerns. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan closed all public schools in the state from March 16 to March 27. 

Delaware schools are shut down for at least two weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, that does not mean students need to go hungry.

Delaware school districts quickly assembled plans to make sure a midday meal and breakfast for the following day can be picked up this week.

In the Christina School District, five buildings have been designated as distribution sites.

"We do ask that children 18 years or younger come. Unfortunately, no meals can be given if children are not present," Christina School District Child Nutrition Supervisor Andrea Solge said. "Parents need to bring the children or the children need to bring themselves for us to be able to help them."

Meals will be distributed near the entrances of the school buildings to keep children outside of the buildings. Solge said the program would be curbside pick-up for those who do not wish to get out of the car.

"We're trying to protect the environment and we're trying to protect each other as well," Solje said.

Brandywine School District, meanwhile, plans to make meals available at all of its buildings except for Harlan Elementary due to its proximity to P.S. du Pont Middle School.

Appoquinimink School District has designated Louis L. Redding Middle School, 201 New Street in Middletown, as the district's centralized meal location.

Colonial School District will use William Penn High School and Southern Elementary School as their distribution points, in addition to making van deliveries.

Red Clay Consolidated School District also has developed a plan to bring school buses to a total of 20 designated locations on a staggered schedule and provide and meals for children to pick up and eat later. 

"We'll give them enough breakfast and lunch meals to get them through from the Tuesday distribution to the Thursday afternoon distribution," Red Clay School District School Nutrition Program Manager Jessica Terranova said. "Our goal is to be able to reach the community but also minimize the amount of time that our staff need to be out and for community members to come out and get meals."

A back-up truck carrying additional meals will also be available and routed to destinations where meals are in high demand.

These and other efforts are made possible due to the federal government providing a waiver to the Delaware Department of Education that allows school nutrition programs to provide meals to students while schools are closed.

"We know that many of our students depend on the meals they receive in schools as their main source of food," Delaware Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said. "Receiving waivers for the operation of the federal School Nutrition Programs means that most of our districts and charter schools will be able to provide meals for students who may need them during the time they are not in school due to COVID-19."

Solge says Christina's program is also open to students from other districts should the need arise.

"There's no face to hunger," Solge said. "We certainly want to support our kids as well as other kids in the community."

Reporter - Anchor

Mark Fowser is a veteran journalist in Delaware.