ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Leaders at Minneapolis Public Schools and St. Paul Public Schools announced plans for meal distributions to students amid the school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Families across the state are coping with a big change after Gov. Tim Walz decided to close Minnesota's K-12 public schools in order to combat COVID-19. Being that many students rely on school for at least one of their meals, districts are working with families to fill this need, and some local restaurants have even chipped in.
All day Tuesday school district employees in St. Paul and Minneapolis worked to fill box after box for thousands of students who will need breakfast and lunch over the next few weeks while schools are shut down across the state.
District leaders say at this time no financial donations will be accepted at these different meal sites for children. It's been recommended if you want to help, donate to your local food bank or shelter.
St. Paul Public Schools
St. Paul Public Schools says it will start using morning school bus routes as meal pickup locations so students can still eat lunch while schools remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning Wednesday, March 18, students can go to their bus stop to receive a 1-week supply of meals. Parents are asked to accompany their child to the bus stop.
Schools with a regular 7:30 a.m. start time will receive their meals every Wednesday.
Schools with a regular 8:30 a.m. start time will receive their meals every Thursday.
Schools with a regular 9:30 a.m. start time will receive their meals every Friday.
Minneapolis Public Schools
Minneapolis Public Schools will also have bus drivers transport meals to different sites throughout the city.
“The meals are available to all children who are 18 years and younger, they do not necessarily have to identify themselves as Minneapolis Public Schools children, it’s very similar to our summer feed program that we run every year in Minneapolis Public Schools,” said MPS Superintendent Ed Graff.
For a map of meal distribution sites for Minneapolis Public Schools, click here.
Childcare for health and law enforcement staff
District leaders are also gearing up for providing childcare to families who are essential employees that work in law enforcement and the healthcare field, which are on the front lines of the pandemic. In Minneapolis, around 700 children will need this mandatory care.
“At the sites what we will be looking for is the proof of their position such as a letter from an employee or a work badge something to determine whether they meet the requirements set forth by the governor,” said Graff.
Minnesota currently has about 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in at least 12 counties. The health department advises residents to stay home if you are sick, and if you are sick, stay home for at least seven days and at least three days without a fever (without fever-reducing medication.)
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread primarily by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza is spread. It can also spread when people touch surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
The Minnesota Department of Health stressed the importance of all Minnesotans continuing to do those things that can limit the spread of the coronavirus:
- Stay home and away from others if you are sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water
- Avoid touching your face throughout the day