Schools all over Oklahoma, including those right here in Garvin County, are scrambling to get things set up so kids can still have access to food even with classes and school activities shut down for now.
It was earlier this week when state officials decided to keep schools closed through at least April 6 because of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and around the globe.
With this week being the regular time for spring break the logistics weren't so easy as a number of area school districts worked behind the scenes to be ready to start distributing food.
In Pauls Valley there will be a couple of ways to distribute breakfast and lunch, free of charge, starting Monday, March 23.
The district will serve students 18 and under and any special education students up to 21.
One way is to call call 405-238-6453 to arrange to have meals delivered by way of school buses.
“We will be going out delivering those meals. We'll send buses out with the meals,” child nutrition clerk Jill Foster said.
Anyone calling should know if no one answers they can leave a message with their name, number of meals needed, address and bus route number. They can also email the same information to email@example.com.
Meals can be picked up in a kind of drive-thru service from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the back of PV Junior High.
What's important to remember here is no one under 18 can pick up the meals.
Instead, it can only be one adult at a time at the window of a trailer set up in back of the school building. Those adults will need to remain in their vehicle and wait until it's their turn in line.
“We plan to use the concession stand trailer at the junior high to distribute the meals,” Foster adds.
Once they are on the list for pick up or delivery they will remain on the list for the duration of the school closures.
The plan in Maysville is to provide sack lunches and deliver food to all designated bus stops from 10 a.m. to noon starting Monday.
There will also be a grab-and-go lunch where parents can pick up their child's food from 10 to 11 a.m. at a drop off line at the elementary school.
All Wynnewood kids up through 18 will have access to sack breakfast and lunches. The food can be picked up from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.
For Wynnewood students who ride the bus, the district's bus drivers will follow their regular routes and stop at houses to deliver the meals. The routes begin around noon each weekday. Call the superintendent's office at 405-665-2004 for more information.
As for the uncertainty over the remainder of the current school year, Wynnewood Superintendent Tim Simpson says he knows all about that.
“I know that we have some stressed out seniors and some stressed out parents of seniors,” he said. “Through all this uncertainty, I don’t blame them a bit for feeling this anxiety as they wonder about big life events such as prom and graduation.
“If it helps you worry less, keep in mind that those events can happen later in the summer just as easily as they are held in the spring. We will do everything in our power to ensure that those events occur. We just can’t guarantee the date right now.”
Stratford Schools will also provide meals at no cost for kids up through 18. The meals will be available Monday through Thursday with breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April 2.
Meals can be picked up in a car line at the south end of the elementary school.
Whitebead Superintendent Lou Ann Wood says parents needing to have their child receive breakfast or lunch during this school closure can email her at superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It is our hope that accurate and up-to-date correspondence will combat fear and panic, as well as help you make well-informed decisions for your family. As a district, we will be sending correspondence to you by text, phone call, email and Facebook,” Wood stated in an online post.
The plan in Lindsay is to start offering free breakfasts and lunches to anyone 18 and under starting Tuesday, March 24.
The meals will be available for pick up at an elementary car line from 9 to 10:30 a.m. each day. Motorists are asked to stay in their vehicles as the meals will be brought to them.
Meals can also be delivered to anyone living outside of Lindsay's city limits. Call the school for more or email email@example.com.