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:
- LAUSD, San Diego Unified to start online only this fall
The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) have jointly announced that their new school year will start online only. Instruction will resume on Aug.18 in LAUSD and Aug. 31 in SDUSD, as previously scheduled. Both districts will continue planning for a return to in-person learning during the 2020-2021 academic year, as soon as public health conditions allow.
Free meals will continue to be provided at the current distribution stations, the announcement added.
LAUSD plans to update the community in early August, while SDUSD will provide a public assessment on Aug.10 of how soon (after the first week of school) a physical return to class would be possible. That assessment will be based on local measures of whether the coronavirus is sufficiently under control, as well as progress on testing and federal action on funding. On Aug.10, SDUSD will also outline the physical measures planned for each school to guard against the pandemic and detail the online learning program for the 2020-21 academic year.
- Indiana University to be almost all carryout this fall
Indiana University Bloomington students, staff and faculty will have different dining experiences on campus for the 2020-2021 school year as part of efforts to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest changes is that dine-in eating will be prohibited in all residential dining halls and campus eateries except for the Tudor Room, which will require reservations.
Students may order food from dining halls and campus eateries, but for carryout only. Maps will show those who are ordering on location or picking up a Grubhub order how to proceed through the dining space. Outdoor seating will be available all across campus. IU Dining is also working to create virtual dining spaces where students can connect with community members because traditional dining will be transformed into a takeout experience.
- Reginald Ross starts term as SNA president for 2020-21
On July 14, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) welcomed Reginald Ross as president for the 2020-2021 school year. Ross, school nutrition consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC-DPI), will represent SNA’s 55,000 school nutrition professional members nationwide during unprecedented times. Under his leadership, SNA says it will focus on advocacy and professional development to help members address unique challenges as they work to meet students’ nutritional needs during the pandemic and beyond.
Since 2013, as Zone 3 Operations Consultant, Ross has served as liaison between NC-DPI and 41 school meal programs across 11 counties surrounding Charlotte, providing ongoing support, training and technical assistance to help those programs improve meal service for students and stay aligned with federal and state school meal guidelines.
- Robots, outdoor dining on tap for college dining this fall
The number of students that can be served per minute is not a normal concern for college and university dining administrators, who in recent years have tried to distinguish themselves on the quality and variety of their food, and the sense of community that it can bring to a campus, notes this extended New York Times analysis of the fall college dining landscape. Over the last decade, the food served in college cafeterias has transformed from the butt of jokes into a major perk; the dining hall is often the first stop on campus tours, it adds.
Because of the coronavirus, however, nothing about this year is going to be normal. At campuses across the country, self-serve stations, where students can make their own salads or taco bowls, will be eliminated; instead, masked-and-gloved workers, shielded by plexiglass barriers, will serve nearly everything. Gone, too, will be condiment and coffee stations, replaced by single-serving ketchup and salad-dressing packets and paper cups that many schools were triumphantly phasing out in an effort to reduce waste. Several universities are even using robots to prepare food and deliver it.
- Community college eliminates all campus dining for the fall
Fulton Montgomery Community College (FMCC) in Albany, N.Y., has announced that it will be conducting its fall courses mostly online and that there is no plan to open on-campus dining or catering services. No meal plan will be available for students and those students staying on campus will have the ability to cook meals in their suites. Off-campus visitors will not be allowed in residential suites.
The announcement illustrates the drastic impact COVID-mandated restrictions have imposed on campus dining programs, especially at smaller schools and community colleges.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]