Shaler school board discusses how coronavirus could affect school lunches -

Shaler school board discusses how coronavirus could affect school lunches

Thursday, March 12, 2020 | 1:08 PM

The Shaler Area School Board discussed coronavirus as it pertains to school lunches.

Kim Cassidy, The Nutrition Group’s regional manager, said that the food service provider budgeted conservatively for food when devising its annual contract with Shaler Area.

“We just don’t know what’s going to happen,” she said during a March 11 presentation. “You know, our hope is that deliveries will continue as scheduled, we won’t have problems with food prices going up, due to the virus or anything that’s going on out there right now. But everything is kind of unknown in that matter.”

Superintendent Sean Aiken asked where The Nutrition Group would offer lunches if it needs to streamline operations in the event of the coronavirus’s spread within the region.

Cassidy replied that they would decide on a central location, possibly at the high school, to serve a large number of students at once.

How would you judge how many people to expect for lunch?” Aiken asked.

“They (The Nutrition Group) have the all-call system to let the parents know what was available, and they thought about having things to start with that were pre-packaged, easy things. So, like your breakfast spreads, things that we already have at school that we could create a meal out of the different components,” she said.

Cassidy told the board that she has viewed coronavirus webinars the last two days.

“It’s not the kids that are the ones getting sick that they’re telling us we need to worry about – we need to worry about the adults. And in our line of work, the majority of our employees are 60 and up. So, we are working on a plan for what happens if the majority of our staff is off.”

She reassured the meeting attendees that the majority of Shaler Area’s food service employees have ServSafe training, a U.S. National Restaurant Association-accredited program.

“They are cleaning and sanitizing the equipment every morning when they get there. And then at the end of the day when they’re leaving, they’re cleaning and sanitizing everything as well. Also within the last week or so and continue to do, we call it a quick trainer on hand-washing, so they know the proper procedures for washing their hands. So, we’ll continue to do that, you know, be very vigilant with cleaning the kitchens and making sure those pieces are together, and then anything you would need from us. It’s, it’s kind of on a case-by-case basis,” Cassidy said.

For details on the coronavirus in our region, go to