OKCPS starting off-site meal distribution
Editor's note 3-23-20: Superintendent Hofmeister has now recommended schools be closed for the remainder of the semester. More details to follow, but here is a quote from Dr. McDaniel:
"While classrooms may be empty, please rest assured that our work on behalf of OKCPS children continues. The 42 district Meal Pick-Up Locations will remain open Monday - Friday, and our leadership teams have been working around the clock for several weeks to develop a comprehensive plan to support families as we have anticipated a long term closure. It now appears that a long-term closure - through the end of the school year - is imminent. For the next several days, administrative and teacher leaders from around the district will work together to finalize an instructional plan that will go into effect beginning April 6th."
Oklahoma City Public Schools has a big void to fill in the lives of nearly 50,000 students as its campuses remain closed amid efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The challenge is greater than spring 2018 during the state-wide teacher walkout because now schools have to distribute the food while keeping people away from each other.
OKCPS Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel has received a grant for federal waivers allowing his school district to provide food to students outside the traditional setting, specific to the statewide coronavirus closure.
The state-mandated school closure is currently for the two weeks following spring break with return tentatively scheduled for April 6. However, state officials have encouraged school administrators to plan for the possibility of long-term closures if it becomes necessary.
Beginning Monday, OKCPS will provide free meals to students at 42 sites around the district, including elementary school campuses and several city parks. Grab-&-Go breakfast and lunches will be available Monday to Friday to any child up to 18 years of age.
A list of food distribution sites and times are available at the district’s website www.okcps.org/covid-19.
“While the closure may be extended at some point, our primary focus right now is on how we will provide support to students and staff for the two-week closures,” said McDaniel.
McDaniel added that he is grateful to the district’s community partners and volunteers.
“We know many of you are anxious and want to help,” he said. “We are trying to be thoughtful about how to engage volunteers who have come forward. However, with the current CDC and state/city-level restrictions in place, we are determining what our current needs are.”
McDaniel said the OKCPS Community Relations team is working closely with the district’s Foundation to marshal the influx of volunteers. He encouraged those interested in helping visit the OKCPS website and complete a volunteer application.
Additional details about the district’s response to COVID-19 can be found at okcps.org/covid-19.