COVID-19. Coronavirus. Quarantine. By now, nearly everyone has been affected in some way by the current pandemic that has been making headlines for the past several weeks. From China to Italy, and now the United States, this virus is pretty much the only topic of conversation these days.
As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, national and local officials have called for closures of schools, movie theaters, bars, and restaurants, and requested that any excursions outside of your homes be for essential services only. Inconvenient? Yes. Surprising? No. Practicing social distancing and self-quarantine is one of the best ways you can contribute to ending the spread of this disease during these uncertain times. Sure, isolation can bring out the worst in people, but it can also bring out the best. Spending time at home can also give you a great opportunity to reconnect with your family and inspire a whole new perspective on what it means to #BeGood.
In light of all the hysteria and panic-shopping, we have seen communities come together in support of one another to ensure that the basic needs of all are met as much as possible. This includes ensuring that food-insecure families are not going hungry.
The National School lunch program provides low-cost or free lunches to 30 million students every single day. During this pandemic, however, those schools have shuttered their doors and many families have scrambled to figure out how to feed their children. To combat this predicament, schools across the country have modified disbursement of the free lunch program through waivers granted in light of the sudden closures by offering meals for pick up as well as utilizing existing school bus routes to provide meals to children and families unable to travel.
The NYC Department of Education, serving more than 1 million students, stated that “if a school is closed for 24 hours, we’re prepared to serve grab-and-go breakfast and lunch for any student who wants it,” according to spokesperson Miranda Barbot.
In North Dakota, the Tate Topa Tribal School in Fort Totten announced that they would begin dispersing sack meals to students beginning March 17, and that bus drivers would run their regular routes within the reservation boundaries to distribute meals at each stop.
Emily Bolton, a spokesperson for Chicago Public Schools, stated that they have “established a special hotline and email for those families who need support with meals or have additional questions.”
School districts big and small have stepped up to the plate, literally and figuratively, to ensure that the nation’s children do not go hungry during these unprecedented times. In one fell swoop, and with little to no time for planning, our public educators have moved their classrooms online and are developing long-term distance learning solutions for every child in their care, as well. A task that these teachers have embraced in spite of the challenges faced.
And in Utah, Governor Gary Herbert issued a “soft closure” for all schools to aid in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the students and staff as much as possible. Each school district is participating in programs to provide every student with the tools necessary to continue their education from home, including checking out computers and providing internet access to homes in need, in addition to the delivery and pick up meals.
In spite of uncertainty, the very best of humanity is on display. Please continue doing your part to prevent further spread of the virus and participate as best you can in social distancing practices. This will all be over soon! Until then, Be Good.