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Hospital uses high-tech, self-sanitizing kiosks to serve food safely plus four other things you may have missed.

5 coronavirus things: Hospital turns to high-tech, self-sanitizing kiosks for safe service

This and University of North Teas debuting its newest dining hall in the midst of the pandemic 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. Chicago Schools reopening plans delayed as student disengagement grows

A plan to reopen Chicago schools to some 62,000 K-8 students on Monday, Feb. 1 has been delayed to at least the next day as last-minute negotiations over COVID-19 safety measures between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the teachers' union stalled. Meanwhile, a study released by the district showed a disturbing level of disengagement among students, especially Black and Latino students, after a year of COVID-related restrictions.

Read more: School district and union talks fall apart as Lightfoot pushes reopening to Tuesday

  1. UNT debuts newest dining hall despite COVID

The newest dining hall at the University of North Texas, Eagle Landing, had a soft opening on Jan. 27 for a limited number of students living in campus housing, even as some construction remained unfinished and coronavirus-related restrictions continued. The facility will fully open Monday, Feb. 1 to serve students during lunch and dinner hours with its food stations opening on a rotation. Menus and hours of operation will continue to expand through the spring semester as construction is completed.

Read more: The eagle has landed as new dining hall holds “soft-open” for students

  1. Northwestern donates unused quarantine meals to local nonprofits

Northwestern University’s semester-opening Wildcat Wellness quarantine period resulted in a large number of unused meals so the school’s dining services worked with a network of local nonprofits to donate more than 5,000 meals after the first week, with between 8,000 and 10,000 meals expected to be distributed in total.

Read more: NU students, workers donate excess Wildcat Wellness meals

  1. Hospital uses high-tech, self-sanitizing kiosks to serve food safely

Employees at New York Presbyterian hospital are able to make food and beverage purchases in a safe, contactless manner after the dining program installed a series of AI-powered Vicki smart stores integrated with Quickcharge cashless transaction technology from vendor M.M. Hayes. The dining program was looking for a safe alternative to providing food services to staff following the shutdown of its traditional offerings such as food buffets due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Vicki kiosks are automatically sanitized with UV-C lighting after each customer visit.

Read more: ViaTouch Media taps MM Hayes Quickcharge platform to let hospital employees pay with ID badges

  1. UMass changes food waste policy

The University of Massachusetts has limited its campus waste policies to accepting only food waste as non-food products and packaging are no longer being accepted for composting. Whereas students previously could place to-go containers along with food waste into composting bins, they must now separate out the food and put it in a separate bin reserved for compostable waste. The containers now being used are still recyclable, but they must be placed in separate containers from the food waste.

Read more: UMass updates campus waste system guidelines

Bonus: Stories from the Front Lines: Healthcare foodservice director gets the coronavirus vaccine
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

TAGS: Coronavirus
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