This year, during National School Lunch Week, Rockwood School District recognizes Child Nutrition Services (CNS) staff members. These employees are ensuring that our at-home learners are receiving nutritional lunches and children attending in-person classes are being served in a safe and clean environment.
Every Monday and Wednesday from 8-10 a.m., Tracy Kennedy, Rockwood CNS training supervisor, and her colleagues, have been stationed outside Rockwood South Middle providing complimentary "Grab-n-Go" meals to district families.
"It's been pretty consistent," Kennedy said. "With students Zooming from home, I think bringing the school lunch home to them helps them with their learning. I also think this service helps the parents out."
CNS has been providing the "Grab-n-Go" packages at three other locations - Crestview, LaSalle Springs and Selvidge - since March and has given out an average of 300-380 bags per distribution day.
"On Mondays, we provide two days' worth of breakfasts and lunches. Then on Wednesdays, families receive three days' worth of breakfasts and lunches," Kennedy said. "A lunch consists of an entrée, milk, two fruits and two vegetables."
The free meal distribution will continue through the end of the school year.
Taking Extra Precautions to Keep Students Safe in the Lunchroom
At Ridge Meadows Elementary, CNS manager Colleen Montgomery and her staff Amy, Erin and Jeremy are operating things a bit differently.
Stickers have been placed on the floor, showing kids where to stand so they remain six feet apart. Dining utensils are pre-packaged, and all fruits and vegetables are covered in plastic wrap and lids.
"The health and safety of the children are very important to us," Montgomery said. "We make sure that our staff wear face masks and wash their hands frequently."
CNS staff members continue to serve some of the students' favorite lunch items with minor yet creative adjustments.
"Since we can't add sprinkles or cinnamon on top of berries like we used to, we're just adding whipped toppings so it's still appealing to the children," Montgomery shared. "A lot of thought has gone into this."
When students are finished eating, Montgomery and her team travel from table to table to collect trash and trays. Then, they ensure all counters, tabletops and chairs are clean by wiping them down with a special solution.
"We're making sure that everything is sanitized properly before we go home," Montgomery said.