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:
- CDC says schools can safely reopen for in-person learning
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a roadmap for reopening schools that says in-person learning can be done safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Characterized as an “operational strategy” rather than a mandate, the guidance emphasizes masks, physical distancing and cleaning classrooms as ways to prevent COVID spread within schools and urges states to vaccinate teachers, although it's not a requirement for schools to reopen.
- University of Iowa to offer dine-in for the first time in nearly a year
Beginning March 1, the University of Iowa will begin offering a dine-in option in three residential dining halls for the first time in nearly a year. “Seating will be limited to allow for appropriate social distancing,” said a campuswide announcement. “Each market place can accommodate 200 to 300 students at one time with distancing measures in place. All food stations in the market places will continue to be a ‘we serve’ model instead of a self-service model.”
- California bill would extend universal free meals post pandemic
A bill that would indefinitely extend the federal Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act passed by Congress last year to make school lunches free for all public school students during the COVID-19 pandemic has been introduced in the California state senate. Under Senate Bill 364, breakfast and lunches would not only continue to be offered to all public school students free of charge after the pandemic is over but an Electronic Benefit Transfer program would be created ensuring that children can continue to receive free meals when the school is closed during breaks lasting longer than a week and during future prolonged disasters.
- Cornell upgrades dining options and menus for the spring term
In response to student complaints about “monotonous” meal choices and long wait times for getting food, Cornell University Dining for the spring semester has re-evaluated and expanded the options. Among the changes: North and West Campus dining halls have brought back specialty stations like grills and pasta bars, spring menus will include new specialties with dining halls offering diverse cuisines from North Africa and the Caribbean in addition to themed holiday dinners, dining hall “chef dinners” where chefs create their own specialty dishes will return to West Campus and seasonal specials will return on Wednesdays to North Campus.
- Robot disinfects school cafeteria after every lunch period
A small, mobile robot made by a local firm called Build with Robots is being used to disinfect the cafeteria after every lunch period at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Albuquerque. The unit, dubbed “Breezy One,” is armed with an environmentally benign but powerful disinfectant originally developed by Sandia National Laboratories that it sprays not only in the cafeteria but other areas of the building as well. However, “the cafeteria is a big thing for us, because all the students go in there,” says Principal Maestas Sanchez. “We have the cleaner go in after every lunch to disinfect for the next group of kids.”.
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