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5 Things
crowded-cafeteria.jpg Will & Deni McIntyre / Corbis Documentary
Parents warn districts about crowded cafeterias and more news from the past week.

5 things: Parents warn school district about dangers of eating in cafeterias

This and Georgia Southern University adding robot food delivery are among the things you missed for the week of August 10.

Each Friday Food Management compiles a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the onsite foodservice news that week and why you should care about them.

Here’s your list for the week of August 10:

  1. Parents warn school district about dangers of eating in cafeterias

A letter written by three medical doctors and signed by 170 other parents is urging a Burlington County school district in New Jersey to reconsider allowing students to eat together in a cafeteria as part of a COVID-19 reopening plan.

“Children sitting at tables without masks in an environment that encourages talking loudly and eating are at significant increased risk of spreading infection to those at their table and nearby tables, as has been demonstrated in outbreaks in restaurants,” said the letter addressed to officials of the Moorestown school district, dated Aug. 3. “It stands to reason that the safety standards set for our students should be far higher than those set for restaurants, in which patronage is voluntary.”

Sandra Alberti, the local Board of Education president, said the district is open to parents’ concerns and the plan for school meals is “fluid.”

Read more: Students eating in school cafeterias is as dangerous as indoor dining, parents tell N.J. district

  1. Georgia Southern to use robots for meal delivery

Georgia Southern University is the first institution in the state to provide Starship robots for food delivery to faculty, staff and students. The initiative will deploy 20 of Starship’s autonomous delivery robots to deliver food from on-campus dining locations to designated pickup locations.

The university’s Information Technology Services, Auxiliary Services, and Eagle Dining Services were all included in the deployment process. University officials hope that introducing the delivery robots will help students feel more secure as they dine on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: Georgia Southern adds Starship robots for on-campus delivery

  1. Hundreds of district’s cafeteria workers, bus drivers facing layoff

Hundreds of school bus drivers and cafeteria workers with the Fredrick County Public Schools system in Maryland are expected to lose their jobs in the coming weeks.

“This was an incredibly painful decision as you can imagine going with a fully virtual mode,” said Superintendent Theresa Alban.

Alban said that back in the spring, the school system suffered a $1.7 million budget loss because food and nutrition workers were still being paid but no food was actually being served to the students.

“For our food and nutrition services the challenge is, this is a self-supporting fund and any time, that fund goes into the negative, we have to pull out of the operating budget, so there will be very limited if any revenue coming into that fund this year,” Alban said.

Read more: Layoffs looming for hundreds of Frederick County Schools bus drivers, cafeteria workers

  1. Minnesota hospital adds halal meal options

New additions to the menu at St. Cloud Hospital in Minnesota have added halal options, prepared and processed following Muslim tradition and culture. The new menu items will take a burden off family and friends who had previously been delivering food from home or halal restaurants to observant Muslim patients and visitors in the hospital, said Community Health Specialist Hani Jacobson.

Read more: 'Food is part of the healing process': St. Cloud Hospital adds halal options to menu

  1. Local minority-owned business to operate employee cafeteria at JFK Airport

The Port Authority has announced a partnership with J&P Runway Café, a local minority- and women-owned business, to operate an on-airport employee cafeteria inside Building 14 at JFK International Airport. J&P Runway Café is a new venture spearheaded by successful Queens restaurateurs Annette Runcie, owner of Pa-Nash Restaurant in Rosedale, and Michael Duncan, owner of Jamaica Breeze Restaurant.

Read more: Port Authority selects Queens restaurant owners to operate new cafeteria at JFK Airport

Bonus: How salad-making robots are expanding the reach of food service of at Mayo Clinic Hospital

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

TAGS: Coronavirus
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