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Takeout-only leads to more non-food waste at William & Mary plus four other stories you may have missed.

5 coronavirus things: Takeout-only leads to more non-food waste at William & Mary

This and a school district using solid white dividers in elementary school lunchrooms to save money 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. Takeout-only leads to more non-food waste at William & Mary

Takeout-only dining due to COVID-related restrictions has led to increases in the amount of non-food waste generated on the campus of the College of William & Mary in Virginia at the start of the spring semester. To mitigate the increase in waste, the college has been purchasing compostable flatware, to–go containers and straws and increasing the number of waste receptacles for these items, leading to an increase in compost bin usage, with almost 3,000 more pounds of waste in the bins in the first two weeks of the spring term than in the first two weeks of fall.

Read more: Dining Services reports increase in non-food waste due to takeout-only dining options

  1. District defends use of solid white dividers in elementary school lunchrooms

Solid white dividers between elementary school lunchroom seats in the Pleasant Valley Community School District in Iowa gained some attention on social media as being socially isolating, but the district says the approach was necessary to provide a safe dining environment for children returning to 100% in-school instruction while minimizing costs. Superintendent Brian Strusz says the option was chosen over plexiglass to save the district nearly $100,000 while still allowing students to interact with those around them.

Read more: Pleasant Valley Community School District defends use of solid white dividers in cafeterias

  1. Board of regents report details COVID’s impact on Iowa’s public universities

According to a new Iowa Board of Regents report, dorm occupancy rates in fall 2020 dipped from 94% to 78% at the University of Iowa (UI), amounting to 1,115 fewer students, while at Iowa State University (ISU) occupancy dropped from 94% to 82% representing 1,799 fewer students and the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) saw 244 fewer students, as occupancy slipped from 85% to 80%. In financial terms, UI reported losing $17.4 million, ISU lost nearly $15 million and UNI reported net revenue in the housing and dining enterprise was $1.6 million below budget and $4.1 million less than the previous budget year.

Read more: Dorms at Iowa universities lose tens of million in pandemic

  1. Las Vegas COVID infection rate drop lets some assisted living dining rooms reopen

With the coronavirus infection rate dropping below 10% in Las Vegas for the first time since November, area assisted living facilities are beginning to loosen some restrictions, with the Oakmont Assisted Living Facility opening its dining room for the first time since November, though with restrictions. For instance, only two seniors can sit together at a table and there are only 25 tables, about half the normal amount.

Read more: Assisted living facility reopens communal dining as Las Vegas infection rate drops

  1. Robots deliver food to travelers at Philly Airport

Passengers waiting to board their flights at Philadelphia International Airport in the next few months can order food from the airport's restaurants through an app and have a robot deliver it for an additional $2.99 fee through a pilot program powered by AtYourGate. The robot, called gita, uses Bluetooth technology and visual sensors to follow an AtYourGate member to the traveler while carrying the order inside a cargo bin.

Read more: Robots now delivering food at Philadelphia International Airport

Bonus: Chartwells Higher Education conjures up new flexible ghost kitchens nationwide for college campuses

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

TAGS: Coronavirus
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