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COVID-19 Quick View: Remote/Hybrid Learning Guidance & Resources

Weekend and Vacation Meals Distribution

Providing students with meals throughout remote learning

Overview

Schools are known for providing comprehensive wraparound resources to support students and families in addition to academic programming. When schools closed in-person instruction, one major support that students lost was access to free and reduced lunch that would have normally been provided to them during the school day. At Meriden Public Schools, 77% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch, so the district quickly sought to find a way to continue to provide meals to its students while they were learning remotely.

Approach

Given the majority of Meriden's students qualify for free and reduced lunch, the district was able to take advantage of flexibility during the pandemic to significantly expand food services. Staff now distribute free breakfast and lunch to all learners, both in-person and virtual, including weekends and breaks. These supports have helped to ensure that students who might struggle with food insecurity maintain access to food throughout school closures.

"Seventy-seven percent of our students are eligible for free and reduced lunch, but we provide universal free breakfast and lunch to all of our students. In the world of COVID, that quickly became providing a breakfast, a lunch, and a breakfast for the next day when students came to pick up their lunches. Then that turned into providing large meal bags on Fridays to carry them through the weekend. They came to mass distributions prior to school vacations so families would have enough food for the entire week when school was out of session. Making sure that those basic needs are taken care of, I think, is another thing that has really helped to build family engagement, to see that the district cares, and that even if you're not in school, we want to make sure that you're not going hungry." - Susan Moore, Supervisor of Blended Learning