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Massachusetts began allowing nursing home visits on June 3 for the first time since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

5 coronavirus things: Massachusetts becomes first state to resume nursing home visits

This and Virginia planning to allow all public schools to reopen in the fall 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. Massachusetts becomes first state to resume nursing home visits

Massachusetts began allowing nursing home visits on June 3 for the first time since the start of the coronavirus crisis, reportedly becoming the first state to ease strict quarantine protocols in long-term care. However, visits will face restrictions outlined in a memorandum issued to nursing home operators.

Family members cannot visit residents with a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19 and visits must be held outside, with no more than two outside individuals and with everyone remaining six feet apart. Caregivers and residents will be required to wear surgical masks while visitors can use less formal cloth facial coverings or masks.

Visits must also be scheduled in advance and take place as weather permits and proper staff and outdoor space are available.

Read more: Massachusetts Becomes First State to Resume Nursing Home Visits After COVID-19

  1. Virginia plans to allow all public schools to reopen this fall

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has announced that all schools will open for students next year. PreK-12 schools in the state were closed in mid-March in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Sports and other school events were also canceled. Other states had similar closures.

For the upcoming 2020-2021 school year, Northam said all public schools will be allowed to reopen as long as the state continues to slow the spread of the virus. State officials presented a three-phase approach to reopening schools.

Phase 1, effectively immediately, has remote learning as still the dominant method of instruction, while in phase 2, which "most schools can enter right now," according to Northam, schools may offer instruction for preschoolers through third-graders, English language learners and students with disabilities. Summer camps in school buildings will also be allowed, though with strict social distancing measures. In phase 3, all students will be allowed to receive in-person instruction, but with strict social distancing measures in place

Read more: Virginia governor announces state plans for reopening schools in the fall

  1. UMass issues report on proposed fall reopening

University of Massachusetts Chancellor Kumble Subbawamy reported the initial proposals of campus administrators regarding how to safely return to campus this coming fall in an email to the campus community. The detailed report includes a proposal to bring the incoming freshmen class to campus for in-person classes in addition to some other students, possibly including seniors, a 50% to 66% reduction in class section sizes and an earlier start date for the semester, with students not returning to campus after Thanksgiving.

The proposal also noted the significant changes that will need to be made regarding on-campus dining. Among other measures, the school will expand barriers between dining hall employees and students, expand grab-and-go hours and seat students in accordance with the state’s reopening guidelines.

Students will be required to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors if a six-foot distance cannot be maintained. UMass plans to develop a “social contract” for students to adhere to, providing them an opportunity to agree to practice behaviors and abide by policies designed to decrease transmission. In-person class attendance may be tracked and eating and drinking in classrooms may not be allowed. Class schedules may also be staggered in order to reduce density on campus. Mental health and social support will increase and include new programming.

Read more: UMass lays out detailed Fall 2020 proposal

  1. School districts, organizations partner to feed kids during the summer

Thousands of children in Santa Barbara County in California will receive free meals during the summer break thanks to a collaborative effort led by local organizations. No Kid Hungry will support a coalition of organizations providing the food, including the Santa Barbara Unified School District, the Lompoc Unified School District, the Goleta Union School District, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, United Way of Santa Barbara County, the City of Santa Barbara, the Community Action Commission and United Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County.

“Santa Barbara County has an extremely high rate of children who live malnourished or food insecure, and it is one of the highest in the state,” Santa Barbara USD Food Service Director Matthew Dittman said. “You wouldn’t think that seeing Santa Barbara, and the glitz and the glam, but there is a lot of food insecurity in our county.”

Last year, more than 60% of young students in the county were eligible to receive free or reduced-price school meals, according to, a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health.

Read more: Santa Barbara County Organizations Serving Free Summer Meals to Thousands of Children

  1. Yellowstone begins phased reopening, including takeout foodservice

Xanterra Travel Collection announced that operations in Yellowstone National Park, including lodges, campgrounds, dining and tours, will begin a phased re-opening on a limited basis starting June 1. The current schedule for Xanterra operations in Yellowstone National Park has cabins with private baths, campgrounds, take-out food service, gift shops and select tours and activities available as part of a phased approach to opening that began on Jun. 8

Read more: Yellowstone Lodging, Dining & Other Services Begin to Open

Bonus: New kitchen prep innovations for school nutrition staff found in New Hampshire school district

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

TAGS: Coronavirus
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