Surrey School’s meal program will continue to provide for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Surrey Schools)

Surrey school district’s meal program to continue during COVID-19

‘We didn’t want our students or their families to have one more thing to worry about,’ says board chair

The Surrey school district is continuing to provide its meal program to students despite the suspension of in-classroom instruction.

READ ALSO: ‘Having to re-invent the way they do their work’: What learning could look like in Surrey amid COVID-19, March 28, 2020

READ ALSO: B.C. to suspend K-12 schools indefinitely due to COVID-19, March 17, 2020

All students that were previously receiving breakfasts and lunches through the district program will continue to receive food at nine sites, according to a release from Surrey Schools.

More than 2,100 students rely on the district’s meal program. Before spring break, the program was providing breakfast at more than 60 schools and lunches at 31 sites.

The district says more than 3,800 meals are served each day of the school year.

“The continuation of the meal program during the pandemic was a priority for our district,” said Laurie Larsen, Surrey Board of Education chair. “In light of what’s happening globally, we didn’t want our students or their families to have one more thing to worry about.”

But the program won’t look the same as it did on an average school day, said Superintendent Jordan Tinney.

“We’ve been able to adapt the program to safely continue providing nutritious meals for students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to a meal.”

Starting at nine schools, the program will now feature a combination of drive-thru and in-person pickup. The district says social distancing and other infection-control practices “will be closely followed.”

Students will get a single meal “with sufficient calories to cover both breakfast and lunch,” according to the district.

It will operate from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday, and parents will be notified by their principals.

Jacob Sol, assistant superintendent, said locations for the distribution sites were “selected very carefully.”

“We considered factors including where the students accessing the meal program live, and how accessible and safe the surrounding walking and driving routes are. Our goal is to make sure students that rely on these meals continue to have access,” he said.

The district says the program will initially operate as a pilot, “with refinements expected.”

The Surrey school district’s meal program is funded by Community Links grants provided by the Ministry of Education, with further funding from donors.

Anyone interested in becoming a donor can call 604-595-6066 or email donations@surreyschools.ca. A tax receipt is provided for all donation of $25 or more.

READ ALSO: ‘Vast majority’ of Surrey Schools staff will be working from home, superintendent says, March 25, 2020

READ ALSO: ‘You’ll have lots of questions’: Surrey superintendent’s message to Grade 12s, March 25, 2020



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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