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North Texas schools making plans to safely feed students learning at home and in person

Whether students are learning at home or in the classroom, school leaders know the kids need to be fed.

DALLAS — As they continue to navigate in-person and virtual learning, school districts are also trying to figure out how they're going to feed students this school year.

As of right now, here are where plans stand in three of our largest school districts:

DALLAS ISD

School starts Sept. 8.

A board briefing is scheduled for Thursday, August 13. School leaders told WFAA they are expecting to get more clarity on how school is going to start (virtual vs. in-person learning) after Thursday's meeting.

"That’s when the board will make an official decision as to what the return is going to look like," Michael Rosenberger, the executive director of Dallas ISD Food and Child Nutrition Services said. "We’re expecting a clearer road map for the physical return of students and what that’s going to look like." 

However, plans to feed students are already in the works, according to Rosenberger.

To feed students who are doing virtual learning:  

“We’ll have one day per week where parents can come and pick up a week’s worth of meals,” said Rosenberger.

As of right now, Rosenberger said they’re targeting Wednesday to be the designated pick-up day. In addition, DISD is considering offering two separate time frames for parents to come pick up meals on that designated day – one in the early morning and one in late afternoon.

Rosenberger said the process will be similar to what they have been doing over the summer.

“All summer long, we’ve been feeding meals to students,” said Rosenberger. “An average week, we served around 400,000 meals at once on one day. So from mid-March up to last Thursday, we’re over 9 million meals (served).”

To feed students who are doing in-person learning: 

Rosenberger said they’re considering a couple of different options for breakfast and lunch.

For breakfast, DISD is thinking about either delivering breakfast to the classroom or having teachers take their classrooms to designated stations to get their food to bring back to the classroom.

For lunch, DISD is considering three different options:

  1. Lunch delivered to and eaten in the classroom
  2. Lunch served in the cafeteria where students would eat at socially distanced tables
  3. Students pick up their lunches at the cafeteria and then take them to the classroom or a designated area to eat

“We are going to be flexible and work with (campus administrators) to make sure that we have a safe meals program and make sure it’s safe for students and safe for staff,” said Rosenberger.


FORT WORTH ISD:

School starts Sept. 8. The first four weeks will be all virtual.

“We want to make sure that when we open schools, we open them, and they stay open,” said Fort Worth ISD spokesperson Clint Bond.

To feed students who are doing virtual learning: 

Meal pick up will be on Mondays and Thursdays, except for the first week of school. Parents can pick up meals on Tuesday and Thursday the week of Sept. 8.

“When parents come, they will have to have identification of the student, or they will have to have the child in the car with them,” said Bond.

If you need to register your child for free or reduced lunch, click here.

To feed students who are doing in-person learning:

“If they’re in-person at a school, then they will be fed most likely in their classrooms so that we can keep groups together. Pods together, if you will,” said Bond.

Other FWISD changes: 

This year, the cost of each meal is increasing. 

“Federal rules do require that we increase our money that we charge for meals over a period of time,” Bond said. “So this year, after not having had any increase at the elementary level for 10 years (and) no increase in the secondary level for five years, we’ve had to go ahead and increase about 10 cents for the meals.”

ARLINGTON ISD:

School starts virtually on Aug. 17.

To feed students who are doing virtual learning: 

Meal pick up will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays, except for the first week of school. Parents can pick up meals on Monday and Thursday the week of Aug. 17.

“A student will need to have their ID when they come through the line. They need to be enrolled in Arlington ISD,” said Arlington ISD Chief Financial Officer Cindy Powell.

If you need to register your child for free or reduced lunch, click here.

To feed students who are doing in-person learning: 

“There are plans already in place for serving Pre-K students in their classroom. We’ll actually take food to them. Our kindergarten and first grade students likely will come to the cafeteria. And then eat in the cafeteria, properly distanced. Kids in grades 2nd through 12th grade will come to the cafeteria, get their food, and return to their classroom,” said Powell.

Other Arlington ISD changes: 

This year, the cost of each meal is increasing. 

“The prices are going up 10 cents on some of our meals this year, in accordance with federal price guidelines,” said Powell.