COVID-19 Virus Response in School Food Service: What Lunchtime Solutions is doing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19
As the beginning of the school year approaches, we know schools and families face difficult decisions and obstacles from the impact of COVID-19. As your school food service provider, Lunchtime Solutions is taking action to provide a safe work environment for our employees and a safe food service experience for our student customers. These actions include tools and employee training for executing our program in your schools safely, including changes in operations and the number of entrée choices we serve.
Our commitment to safety has never been more important as we face the challenges of preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Changes in the foodservice program:
You may notice several changes in breakfast and lunch service as your student returns to school in the fall. Dependent on your school and local health advisories, there could be several things that look different; however, you can still expect healthy and delicious food options that your student will enjoy and that meet USDA regulations as part of the National School Lunch Program.
- Options: To begin the school year, menu options will most likely be limited, and your student may notice less choices offered daily. Our options, even though limited, will be choices the students love, ensuring a high level of satisfaction.
- If students visit the cafeteria and come through the line, every option will be individually wrapped or served directly to students, making self-serve stations limited to obsolete.
- Decreasing choices while still serving options will help keep the line moving faster with less congestion and crowding of students. This in turn, will provide a safer food service experience for student customers.
- When possible, we have transitioned most options to individually wrapped items to further increase safety measures.
- If schools opt to have students eat in the classroom, options could be limited due to ordering and delivery constraints.
- Students will see fewer offerings in fruits and vegetables.
- As an additional safety measure, self-serve fruit and veggie bars will be eliminated and replaced with staff serving students fruit and vegetable choices. To the best of our ability we will offer choices that students like and will eat. How these will be served will be dependent on each school building.
- Supply shortages: Food and supply shortages are very fluid, and we ask for your patience with our staff as menu option changes are inevitable.
- Many suppliers are seeing challenges with providing everything we order due to manufacturing and supply chain limitations related to COVID-19.
- You may have experienced this personally when you go to the grocery store or order groceries online.
- Due to these potential shortages, some items are no longer available, and some will be substituted with similar options.
- Our menus may change without notice due to supplier shortages.
Staff Requirements to mitigate risk:
We understand and empathize with the uncertainty of the situation you, as our customers, are experiencing. We want you to be aware of our prevention and response protocols as well as our plan to help our employees, student customers, schools and communities prioritize the safety of everyone utilizing food service. Below is a high-level outline of the trainings, guidance, and safety protocols that have been put in place for every operation, at every school based off CDC recommendations and guidance:
- Kitchen Area Signage
- Signs will be posted in the kitchen and they will serve as ongoing reminders to support our trainings on COVID-19 transmission and prevention, including face coverings, physical distancing, and hygiene.
- Signs will also be posted in the serving areas reminding students to stay 6-feet apart and to, ”please only take the food they touch”.
- Daily Health Assessments & Temperature Screenings
- Prior to reporting to their work location, all foodservice employees are required to complete a daily health questionnaire provided by Lunchtime Solutions. This daily health screening includes a temperature check and a self-assessment of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 as outlined by the CDC.
- Physical Distancing & Face Coverings
- To the extent feasible, employees will attempt to maintain at least 6-feet of physical distance in all interactions with fellow employees and customers.
- All employees are required to wear a face covering when 6-feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained and at all times when serving students and district personnel.
- Vendor & delivery driver protocols
- All vendors are required to wear face coverings while delivering product or when in a school kitchen.
- Hygiene & Disinfection Protocols
- Additional cleaning & disinfecting practices are being completed to ensure high touch areas are sanitized multiple times per day.
Lunchtime Solutions is partnering with your school to navigate any health emergency and to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Together we will work to optimize nutrition while ensuring the health and safety of the students and communities we serve.
If you have any questions or concerns about the program or our mitigation protocols, please call your Food Service Director: