MEIGS COUNTY — Meal delivery provided by Eastern, Meigs and Southern local school districts will begin this week for students in each district.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine originally announced the closure of schools for three weeks (March 16-April 3), but has since stated the closures may be extended.
With the long break from school, area districts have turned their focus to meeting the needs of their students during the time away from school.
“The three of us are working together to make this situation work in the best interest of the children, focusing on how we meet their needs,” said Southern Supt. Tony Deem.
Meigs Supt. Scot Gheen praised the work of the non-certified staff members in making the meal delivery efforts possible. Staff will be preparing the meals, delivering the food to homes and continuing to clean and maintain the district buildings and grounds.
Plans are subject to change based on the orders from Governor DeWine and other state and federal officials related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any changes would be communicated by the district directly to their respective districts by an all call and on the district website.
Meal delivery plans vary in each district, and are listed below. In each district, the student must be present for the meal delivery to take place.
Eastern Local Schools
The food service department will pack lunches with an included breakfast each day, Monday through Friday. Buses will depart campus at approximately 11:30 a.m. each day
These meals will be delivered by the district’s school bus drivers running their regular routes. For safety reasons, the district asks that someone from each household be at each stop for receipt of the meals. Meals will be provided to each student who rides the bus each day plus all other children in the household.
There will be a designated “group” delivery site, for students who are typically “walkers” and do not regularly ride the bus.
Extended drops as follows: Reedsville Dam, Long Bottom Methodist Church, Eastern Bus Garage Tuppers Plains, Woods Road and 681 in Alfred, Bashan Fire House, Chester Elementary Ball Field, Karr Contracting and Mt. Hermon Church.
In order to prevent the spread of illness, each food service worker will have temperature checked prior to beginning the packaging of meals to help ensure food safety. This will be logged each day. Gloves will be provided to personnel handling and delivering foods
Meigs Local Schools
Meigs Local will deliver food to every MLSD household twice next week, on Tuesday, March 24 and Friday, March 27. Each week thereafter will be distributed three times, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Each child will receive a total of five meals between all of the deliveries.
Food will be distributed according to the district’s bus route. Each bus will run their normal route and will stop at each home. Please make sure that someone is present to meet the bus and get the food. Food cannot be left if no one is present. Deliveries can be expectd between roughly 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with a more specific time to be given after a few days of deliveries have been completed.
If your child doesn’t normally ride the bus, food will still delivered to you. The district has accounted for every child in the district and has assigned them to a bus. However, if they happen to miss a student, or you weren’t home when they came to deliver, pick ups can be done in person at Meigs Elementary next week on Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon
If you do not want/need these food deliveries,, you may opt out with the following form: http://bit.ly/mlsd-meal-opt-out .
“Please be patient with us as we work through this process. The health and well being of our students is of the utmost importance to us, and we want to ensure that every child’s nutritional needs are met,” stated the message from Food Service Director Chrissy Musser. Additional information can be found on the Meigs Local Food Service Facebook page.
Southern Local Schools
The Southern Local School District is planning on feeding its kids through busing at breakfast and lunch to drop-off points daily. This will start Monday, March 23 and run to the end of school closure on April 3 or beyond.
Right now, plans are to deliver to Portland Elementary (Community Center), across from the former Letart Falls Elementary, Syracuse Community Center (back of the building), Kerrs Run bus drop (old water works), Star Mill Park, the Community of Christ Church beside the Lebanon Township Garage, and the back of the Southern School at the kitchen.
The district is planning on 400 meals per day. All students of the Southern Local School District are eligible for this service. Southern Local urges all of those who can to come to the pick up sites. Those picking up meals should have name, grade, and student ID for documentation purposes. No student will be turned away for lack of an ID. If you absolutely cannot make it, please call the school and they will make arrangements 740-949-4222.
Times for distribution of food is tentatively set for 9-10:30 a.m. All parents should remain in their car and food will be taken to the car from the bus so to limit the amount of contact. This service will be provided by the Southern Local School District through a special version of the Seamless Summer Food program. Through various church groups and civic organizations, donations, school personnel, and volunteers along with Mrs. McNickle we were able to feed over a 100 kids last weekend. On another note, the Southern Local team has been working on the possibility lasting beyond April 3. At this time, as we sort through the guidance, we will announce plans for school enrichment activities for students and how the continuation of the food program will work. We are all here for the kids.
In addition to meals, each district is providing enrichment materials and other resources for students to complete course work and related activities during the closure.
Information on these programs can be found on the district websites and will be provided through their respective all-call systems.
Information regarding Eastern Local can be found at https://www.easternlocal.com/ .
For Meigs Local, “blizzard bag” information can be found at http://bit.ly/meigs-blizzard-bags . Additional enrichment program links can also be found on the Meigs Local website.
Information regarding Southern Local can be found at https://www.southernlocalmeigs.org/ .
Should students not be able to access the information through the online systems, printed copies can be made available by contacting the school for Meigs Local students.
At Southern, Deem stated, “Staff will contact the students directly to determine the best method fr enrichment activities.”
Packets can also be delivered with the meals as needed.
Looking at the possible issue of lack of internet access, Eastern Supt. Steve Ohlinger, Deem and Gheen noted that wi-fi is available in most school building parking lots, particularly at Eastern where the public library is located in the elementary building. Although the library is closed, the wi-fi is still available.
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.