Questions swirled among Mora school paraprofessionals, school cooks and bus/van drivers as 725 school meals were loaded for transport Monday, March 23: Where is this address? Which students need allergen-free meals? Will all these meals fit in the van?
Area school districts have been in a problem-solving scramble since March 15 when Governor Tim Walz announced the closure of public schools by no later than March 18 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In addition to how students can learn from a distance, schools have needed to figure out how to feed them.
Both Mora and Ogilvie schools have created systems to deliver meals to students’ homes and bus stops.
Approximately 725 meals were delivered on Monday, and Mora Schools Food Service Director Barb Fredrickson expects there will soon be more.
“I can only imagine it is going to grow. I’ve had parents call crying because they just lost their jobs,” she said.
Fredrickson said the situation has called for a significant amount of creativity. Thus far the meals prepared have been cold meals that don’t need to be reheated like wraps and taco salads, but Fredrickson’s last food order was made when she anticipated serving hot meals. Her next order will change; she worries about running short of paper products used to package the meals.
The food delivery system helps keeps bus drivers and paraprofessionals at work, though in different roles than they are used to.
“It’s a real collaboration,” said Fredrickson, noting that the whole world has made incredible adjustments in response to the virus.
“We are in this all together with the world. This is amazing ... We’re going to come out on the other side incredibly different. Good or bad, I don’t know, but we are going to be coming out on the other side very different.”