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Free/reduced meal applications drop despite growing poverty and 4 other things you may have missed this week.

5 coronavirus things: Free/reduced meal applications drop despite growing poverty

This and the recent COVID surge hampering reopening plans in large school districts are some of the stories you may have missed recently regarding the COVID-19 crisis.

In this special edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments regarding coronavirus and its impact on onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Coronavirus surge hampering large school district reopening plans

While the start of the 2020-2021 school year saw more smaller districts at least partially reopening for in-person classes, larger districts tended to hold back at first, but have now started to reopen just as COVID cases surge. The majority of the 15 largest districts in the nation now have at least some students in school buildings whereas only two of them had any form of in-person learning as of early September.

However, others are still holding back. For example, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest school system, says its campuses are unlikely to reopen before January while Boston Public Schools has announced that it was moving its nearly 50,000 students to completely remote learning because of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the city.

Read more: Kids are now in school at majority of nation’s biggest districts – just as COVID cases surge

  1. Free/reduced meal applications drop despite growing poverty

Fewer students are applying for free and reduced-price meals in the nation’s K-12 schools, leading to worries among administrators that the shortfall could lead to the loss of millions of dollars in government aid as free/reduced meal applications are used as a proxy for measuring district poverty rates. The administrators theorize that one reason for the reduced number of applications, despite a growing overall poverty rate, is that the introduction of universal meals during the COVID pandemic period has lessened the urgency for families to fill out the applications.

Read more: Districts Anxious About Plunge in Meal-Program Applicants

  1. Recently debuted Worcester now only open dining commons at UMass

After two years of construction, the new Worcester Dining Commons at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst opened on Oct. 19 and is now the only dining commons open on the campus this fall. With 15 station concepts offering cuisine ranging from Latin and Middle Eastern to Southeast Asian and plant-forward, the venue is serving a much-reduced onsite student population.

Read more: New Worcester Dining Commons opens on campus

  1. Aramark HQ earns LEED Silver certification

Aramark’s global headquarters in Philadelphia has received LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for its sustainable workspace design and construction. Specific sustainability highlights include water-saving fixtures that reduce water consumption by 35%, efficient lighting that decreases lighting power density to 40% below code and over 90% of all appliances holding Energy Star certifications.

Read more: Aramark Global HQ Receives LEED Silver Certification

  1. UTEP shutting campus dining services for two weeks due to COVID surge

The University of Texas El Paso has announced that it will close its student recreation center and campus dining services for the next two weeks in the wake of a court-ordered shutdown of all non-essential businesses throughout the county because of a surge in COVID-19 infections and illness that "overwhelmed" local hospitals.

Read more: UTEP closes student rec center and campus dining in wake of El Paso County shutdown order

Bonus: One On One With: Revolution Foods meets the coronavirus challenge

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

TAGS: Coronavirus
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