Mesa Public Schools officials give explanation on emergency meal service changes

( Photo Courtesy: Mesa Public Schools )

Officials with Mesa Public Schools have provided an explanation on why they made changes to their emergency meal service.

On Tuesday, FOX 10 reported that 21 meal service locations were closed, as of April 7, with 11 more closing on April 9. Following a pre-scheduled school holiday on April 10, meal service will be changed to 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only.

For a list of all schools remaining open for food distribution, check the Mesa Public Schools website here.

Previously, sack lunches were served to children 19 and under from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on weekdays.

"I'm grateful for any help," said parent Aaron Higgenbotham. "Just finding cereal is difficult. The fact they were able to get that every day was very helpful."

Higgenbotham's children have been getting food with Mesa Public Schools since school closed. Thousands of Mesa families running out of money, goods and food have come to rely on the meal service.

According to a statement released by Interim Superintendent Pete Lesar, they made changes to the emergency meal service because of challenges they are experiencing in the food supply chain, a dwindling workforce, a rise in temperatures that could affect food safety, and allowing more response time for warehouse staff to adjust orders based on meal counts.

Interim Superintendent Lesar says among other things, a lack of childcare, fear of potential exposure to COVID-19, and illness have contributed to a decline in the number of available workers.

In addition, Interim Superintendent Lesar says school districts nationwide are competing for products that are the most appropriate for drive-up meal service, and orders are being shorted. meanwhile, some items are just not available.

Interim Superintendent Lesar says the district hopes the modified meal service plan can allow them to provide meals to students in need, through May 21.

"It is possible that additional adjustments may be necessary as the COVID-19 crisis continues," Interim Superintendent Lesar wrote.

Now, the changes have left parents wondering where they will find the food to cover for the two days.

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
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  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

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