Metro Atlanta schools will offer meals and other services amid the coronavirus pandemic that has forced districts to close buildings and utilize online learning, saying that discontinuing meal service could mean some students go without food for an extended period.
“During this unprecedented time, there may be more families in need than just those who receive free and reduced lunches,” Cobb County Schools Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said in a press release announcing a partnership with MUST Ministries to provide meals during the school building shutdown.
The district's food and nutrition services department will donate items to the nonprofit, which will then make meals available to area families. The schedule for meal pickup through MUST Ministries is not yet available, but should be posted on the group's website early next week, the district said.
Fulton County Schools will offer meals to be picked up at six school sites throughout the district Monday, Wednesday and Friday for all children under 18 or those under 21 with special needs. Children must be present for the meals to be provided. The district is partnering with the Atlanta Food Bank and other nonprofits to distribute meals for other family members.
Fulton locations are: Lake Forest Elementary School, 5920 Sandy Springs Circle in Sandy Springs; Tri-Cities High School, 2575 Harris Street in East Point; Mimosa Elementary School, 1550 Warsaw Road in Roswell; Banneker High School, 6015 Feldwood Road in College Park; Haynes Bridge Middle School, 10665 Haynes Bridge Road in Alpharetta; and Langston Hughes High School, 7510 Hall Road in Fairburn.
The district said in a statement that the sites were selected because they were centrally located and easy to reach.
Clayton County Schools will offer breakfast and lunch pickup at 10 school sites beginning Monday. Those eligible should be “18 or younger or individuals with a state-defined mental or physical disability.”
Meals will be available for pickup from 8 to 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mobile food pantries will be available March 20 at Forest Park Middle School, 930 Finley Drive in Forest Park, or at Riverdale Middle School, 400 Roberts Drive in Riverdale, on March 31 at 3 p.m. to support families during the building shutdown.
Non-emergency medical services will continue to be offered at the health center at North Clayton High School, at 1525 Norman Drive in Atlanta.
The DeKalb County School District will provide daily meal service beginning Monday where students will receive a free bagged lunch and snack at several sites around the district between 10 a.m. and noon.
Those sites are: Cross Keys High School, 1626 N. Druid Hills Road NE in Atlanta; Sequoyah Middle School, 3456 Aztec Road in Doraville; Idlewood Elementary School, 1484 Idlewood Road in Tucker; Lithonia High School, 2440 Phillips Road in Lithonia; Clarkston High School, 618 N. Indian Creek Drive in Clarkston; Chapel Hill Middle School, 3535 Dogwood Farms Road in Decatur; Bethune Middle School, 5200 Covington Highway in Decatur; McNair Middle School, 2190 Wallingford Drive in Decatur.
Forsyth County Schools will offer daily free meal pickup service at two Cumming schools — Sawnee Elementary School, 1616 Canton Highway and Whitlow Elementary School, 3655 Castleberry Road — from noon to 1 p.m. through March 20, for all public and private Forsyth County students up to 18 years old, and up to 21 years old for those with special needs. The district will announce plans for the following week once they decide whether schools continue to be closed.
Gwinnett County Schools will offer meal pickup at 68 sites and bus stops near the schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. through March 20 for children 18 and under. The district will announce plans for the following week once they decide whether schools continue to be closed.
CDC recommends preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
• 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.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
• CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
• 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. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
• If you are concerned you might have the coronavirus, call your healthcare provider before going to a hospital or clinic. In mild cases, your doctor might give you advice on how to treat symptoms at home without seeing you in person, which would reduce the number of people you expose. But in more severe cases an urgent care center or hospital would benefit from advance warning because they can prepare for your arrival. For example, they may want you to enter a special entrance, so you don’t expose others.