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CCSD to use buses, cafeterias to distribute meals to students

Updated July 24, 2020 - 5:31 pm

The Clark County School District plans to run school buses to bring children to cafeterias so they can pick up meals during distance learning, according to Superintendent Jesus Jara.

Jara revealed the plan late Thursday in response to a question during an hourlong virtual meeting hosted by the CCSD Parents Facebook group but provided few details.

The meeting, which also was attended by CCSD Deputy Superintendent Brenda Larsen-Mitchell, occurred just two days after the School Board decided students will start the new school year Aug. 24 with full-time distance learning. Trustees will receive updates every 30 days and the goal is eventually to transition into a hybrid model — a mix of in-person and remote instruction — when COVID-19 conditions allow.

One of the more than 200 questions submitted by parents prior to the Facebook meeting was about whether food distribution will continue during distance learning and if it will be offered at each school to make it more accessible for families.

“So right now, we have change,” Jara replied. “We’re going to have to find ways to open up our cafeterias.”

CCSD can’t continue its current model of food distribution once the new school year starts because it doesn’t have the necessary waivers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow for it, he said.

CCSD’s plan is for students to go to the closest school to pick up breakfast and lunch and then go home, Jara said. “If you can walk, you can walk to the closest school you’re at.”

School bus drivers will also pick up children who need transportation, take them to a school cafeteria to pick up food and take them back home, he said.

Teamsters Local 14, which represents CCSD school bus drivers, responded Friday to a request for comment, but a manager wasn’t available by deadline.

The school district said in a written statement Friday that since the board just approved the distance education model, “Employees are hard at work finalizing the plans to align with the needs of distance education. We anticipate having those plans available in the coming weeks and look forward to providing you with more information soon.”

Southern Nevada Health District spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore said in a Friday email to the Review-Journal that district officials provided the school district with feedback regarding its transport plan, but didn’t elaborate on the nature of the feedback.

CCSD’s current food distribution system kicked into gear shortly after school campuses were ordered to close in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will continue through July 31, according to the district’s nutrition website.

The district has provided free meals to children ages 2 through 18 at dozens of food distribution sites. Each student receives breakfast and lunch each day they show up.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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