In the kitchen of CCHS, Peggy Welsh discusses possibly transferring food carts to an elementary school, with fellow nutrition staff.
Editor’s Note: This is the third piece in the three-part series reporting on Campbell County School District’s (CCSD) process for reopening schools this fall.
In order for schools to resume on-site instruction after their sudden switch to adapted online learning last spring, a plethora of guidelines, recommendations and requirements are to be met by various staff members within each school. For example, food service employees across the district will encounter a series of changes to their routines this year, CCSD Nutrition Supervisor Bryan Young explained.
“Every school in the district will serve breakfast and lunch in bags,” Young said. “Some principals at the elementary schools have decided to serve lunches in the classroom.”
Though the typical buffet-style lunch will be replaced with a universally bagged version, Young said that students will be eating close to the same meals that they have in years past.
“When I say, ‘bagged lunches’ a lot of people think we’re going to serve ham sandwiches and apples on the daily,” Young said.
Young explained that the school district orders their food supplies in advance for each school year, so the food that is being sent to schools right now, was ordered back in December of last year. At that time, Young said, he was completely unaware that baggable foods would simplify the service process, so the menu wasn’t changed.
“School lunches, themselves, haven’t changed much. We’re still offering things like orange chicken with rice, spaghetti, pizza, chicken sandwiches and whatever the kids are used to eating,” Young clarified.
“The only major difference is the way lunches will be served to the students.”
Young went on to say that “a la carte” options, which used to offer additional meals like salads, sandwiches, granola bars and string cheese, as well as five-dollar super lunches, will not be featured in secondary lunchrooms at this time. However, both high schools are conducting open campus lunches in which students may leave the school to buy their own lunch, or go home to eat.
Since CCSD is referring to Wyoming Department of Education Superintendent Jillian Balow’s Smart Start Guidance, school district employees must prepare for a partial or complete shutdown of schools.
CCSD schools will reopen under what the guidance packet calls tier one, in which all students will attend school on-site. A rise in COVID-19 cases within the community could lead to a tier two environment, in which half of the students attend school on-site while the other half complete online classes on a rotational basis. If circumstances worsened from there, tier three schooling would be implemented, in which all students would continue with their class work online, from CCSD’s newly adopted Schoology, a platform that centralizes the curriculum for students and teachers.
This state of uncertainty has become a main concern for Young. He said the secondary schools are already struggling to find a realistic estimated number of students who will eat a bagged lunch, and this issue would be greatly amplified in the event of a partial school closure.
Troubleshooting this potential inconvenience, the district is creating a platform that allows parents to order a bagged school lunch the night before they’ll need it.
“That should be available to parents within the first couple weeks of the school year,” Young said.
Young added that lunch staff will have a much different process than they have in prior years. Typically, the workers would set up a buffet-style meal in which students served themselves an entrée (or two for extra charge), at least a serving of the student’s choice in fruit, at least a serving of the student’s choice in vegetables and a milk.
Now, the students will be provided with one entrée in a bag or bowl, one serving of fruit that has been individually bagged, one serving of vegetables individually bagged, and one milk carton.
This new lunch-serving style is more rigorous for nutrition staff, Young said, but he noted that the employees have been practicing all summer.
“We’ve been doing this for months now, so we have the process down,” Young said. “Now, we need to make it work on a much lager scale.”
Much like the food service employees in schools, the hygiene departments will see an influx in demands for their cleaning services.
In fact, Custodian at Campbell County High School George Reza said that in light of COVID-19 an entirely new position has been introduced across the district.
Sanitizers will assist the custodial staff with killing bacteria this year, starting on Friday. The sanitizer will be equipped with an electro-static sprayer that will be filled with a food-grade disinfectant, Reza explained.
“She’ll come in and spray down the areas that kids are touching a lot,” Reza said. “She’ll use a spray that clings to surfaces immediately instead of floating around in the air for us to breathe in all day.”
Terry Quinn, Principal at Thunder Basin High School said that when posted, the sanitizer position drew in five applicants.
When schools reopen on Aug. 24, students will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival. If it is reported that a student is showing symptoms, they will be directed to the building’s new Symptomatic Screening Rooms.
Nurses will be the only staff allowed into the screening rooms, and will be required to wear a mask, gloves and a protective gown.
In the event that a student is sent to a symptomatic screening room, they will be further evaluated by their nurse. District Nursing Coordinator Julie Lange said that students will be physically evaluated for a fever and dry cough before their parents are contacted and a plan is comprised for their discharge from the screening room or quarantine from school.
For students who have been confirmed as having COVID-19 or who have come in contact with a positive case, the school nurse will be responsible for coordinating with both the parents and directors of Campbell County Public Health to decide whether quarantine is necessary for the student.
Lange said that school nurses will stand between students and their potentially skipping class claiming to be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
“We always let the kids tell us what they’re feeling,” Lange said. “But we never send them home without physically evaluating them to ensure they really are sick.”