Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 8

GEORGIA News

Compiled by Jennifer J. Hewett

Georgia schools adapt their nutrition
programs

IS

8

Georgia Magazine

September 2020

COURTNEY HART

W

hen schools across Georgia began
closing in mid-March to stop the spread of
the coronavirus, the school nutrition directors jumped into action. They knew their students
would still need access to breakfast and lunch, especially in counties with high levels of food-insecurity.
For many school districts, it was a schoolwide
effort: Staff began packing bags, teachers pitched in
to distribute meals and bus drivers lined up to run
food-delivery routes.
"It was an impressive shift. Schools had to
adopt a whole new service model within a couple
of days," says Linette Dodson, the state director for
Georgia's school nutrition program.
During that weekend in mid-March, Dodson
coordinated more than 185 waivers that allowed
school districts to have meal-service flexibility while
Barbara Corcoran, a nutrition staff member at Hartwell Elementary School,
the school directors decided what menus to create
prepares bags of food for parents to pick up at the school and for staff
and how to reach as many students as
members to deliver on bus routes.
possible.
"School meals really are a
mainstay for a lot of children,"
she says. "We thought about
pated in the Farmers to Families program, which
the busy families with new
distributed boxes of produce to the community
challenges facing them. We
at large.
wanted this to be one thing
"In Calhoun, which is largely textiles
they didn't have to worry
and carpeting, many parents lost their jobs,
about."
and this was much-needed relief," says Kim
During the end-ofKiker, Calhoun City Schools' director of
TO
school-year stretch from
school nutrition. "People gave us cards and
CK
.CO
M / FUEGO
mid-March to mid-May,
flowers, and it meant so much to see the expresHart County Schools served
sions on their faces."
They knew their students
more than 114,000 meals.
Of course, the biggest question that loomed was
The schools delivered
how to handle nutrition for the fall.
would still need access to
meals on bus routes, and
Dodson, Hart and Kiker served on a statewide
breakfast and lunch,
parents could pick up bags
committee that developed several scenarios for
at the elementary schools.
school districts in the 2020-21 academic year based
especially in counties with
Staff handed out sacks with
on the level of precautions needed. In some schools,
high levels of food-insecurity. students are picking up meals from the cafeteria
enough food for two or three
days and often were overand eating in their classrooms or outside. In others,
whelmed by the appreciation from the students and their parents.
nutrition staff deliver the meals to classrooms. For
"Kids would run to the buses and carry their big bags back to the
students doing virtual learning, meals are available
house," says Courtney Hart, the district's director of school nutrition. "I
for pickup.
think it made as much of an impact on staff to see parts of the county they
"It's an ever-changing environment right now
had never been to before."
for everyone in education," Dodson says.
After the official school year ended, many counties switched to a
"At all the different levels of restart, we're worksummer nutrition program to make sure students still could receive meals
ing together to help our children."
in June and July. Some districts, like Calhoun City Schools, also partici-Carolyn Crist



Georgia Magazine - September 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - September 2020

Contents
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 4
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 5
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 6
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 7
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 8
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 9
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 10
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 11
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 12
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 13
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 14
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 15
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 16
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 17
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 18
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 19
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 20
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 21
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 22
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 23
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 24
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 25
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 26
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 27
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 28
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 29
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 30
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 31
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 32
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 33
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 34
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 35
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 36
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 37
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 38
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 39
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 40
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 41
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - 42
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - September 2020 - Cover4
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