The Ferguson-Florissant school district in Missouri is now looking for alternatives to meal delivery to ensure students still have access to nutritious hot meals.
When the Coronavirus outbreak first hit the United States, several school districts across the country were closed down to prevent the spread of the disease. Many wondered what would happen to the children who relied on meals at school to get their daily nutrition. As a temporary alternative, school districts chose to implement "grab and go" alternatives or deliver meals to students' homes. A school district in Missouri has now decided to suspend meal delivery services as one of their bus drivers died after testing positive for Coronavirus. "A second driver died after a prolonged illness unrelated to coronavirus but had symptoms of the virus before death," CNN reports.
The Ferguson-Florissant school district in Missouri, which serves students in a northeastern suburb of St. Louis, was forced to suspend their meal delivery services after two school bus drivers passed away recently. While one driver had contracted Coronavirus, he showed no symptoms of the disease. He supported food distribution at McCluer North High School in Florissant after the school was shut down due to the outbreak. The second bus driver died of causes unrelated to Coronavirus, but had exhibited signs of the novel virus before his passing. This driver supported food distribution from Cross Keys Middle School, also in Florissant. A third staff member who also works at McCluer North High School has also tested positive for the virus, said Davis.
The suspension of delivery services was put in place to keep students, families, and the employees of the district safe. The suspension will last from April 6 through April 10. More recently, a third staff member who also works at McCluer North High School has also been diagnosed with COVID-19. Thankfully, none of the employees have worked since spring break began about 14 days ago. In order to ensure children are still able to access healthy and nutritious food during this challenging time, the school district is currently looking for alternatives to food distribution. This can be tricky as the state of Missouri is under a stay at home order until April 24. Despite the order, the school district is continuing online learning.
To stay ahead of the battle, as the Governor of the State of Missouri, I am ordering a statewide “Stay Home-Missouri” Order for ALL Missourians beginning at 12:01 a.m., Monday April 6 until 11:59 p.m., Friday April 24.— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) April 3, 2020
In a statement released on April 4, Ferguson-Florissant school district superintendent Dr. Joseph Davis affirmed, "These are incredibly difficult times especially as we are more isolated from one another. Even though we are apart physically, I know that together we will get through this crisis." Since the statement was issued, the school district has announced via its official Facebook page a food drive and care package pick-up set to take place on April 8. This is perhaps expected to fill the gap in the supply of hot meals. While this does not ensure equal accessibility as meal delivery does, it is a step in the right direction. It is heartening to see the community come together in order to support each other during this public health crisis. It is a difficult time for many, but community outreach has helped dozens of those in need.
As of early on Wednesday morning, the United States had 401,608 confirmed cases of Coronavirus. Though over 22,000 patients have recovered from the disease, almost 13,000 have succumbed to it. These are, without a doubt, tragic and terrifying times. As medical experts continue to find a cure, we must thank the brave frontline employees, such as healthcare professionals, delivery drivers, and sanitation workers, who have kept their communities going.