FARMINGTON – Schools may be closed to limit the spread of COVID-19, but districts and local governments have vowed to keep serving healthful meals to students who rely on school lunches to meet their daily calorie intake.
While the meals are typically basic and not served hot, they do meet the school’s nutrition standards and help students who might not have access to food in remote areas during school closings. They typically include sandwiches, granola bars and fruit.
Schools in New Mexico are scheduled to be closed until April 6, by order of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s emergency health declaration. The closures include all school activities, meetings and athletic practices, according to the New Mexico Public Education Department.
Farmington Municipal Schools said it will begin providing meals for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students beginning March 23 until April 3. Starting next week, schools will distribute breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday, at specific sites.
The meals will be available for pickup from 8 to 10 a.m. at Animas, Apache, Bluffview, McCormick, Esperanza and McKinley elementaries; Hermosa and Tibbetts middle schools; and Farmington and Rocinante high schools. The district asks that all Farmington Municipal School students be present with their parents to pick up the meals, which must be taken home and cannot be eaten on-site.
For parents unable to pick up meals during the day, the district said it would have three evening pickup locations from 5 to 7 p.m. at Tibbetts Middle School, Mesa View Middle School and Central Kitchen (305 N. Court Ave.).
In Aztec, the school district has set up meal service pickup locations at Aztec High School, Park Avenue Elementary School, Lydia Rippey Elementary School and McCoy Elementary School. Breakfast will be available from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The district has posted details of the meals on its website, social media and through robocalls to notify parents of the service. On its first day, Aztec High School served 300 meals, according to the district.
In addition to on-site distribution of meals at Bloomfield High School, the Bloomfield School District said it would also deliver meals via the schools’ buses to help students who live in remote areas and struggle to make it to town. The district is telling parents to look for the bus along the route at 10:30 a.m., but they can call (505) 632-2662 for more information about the stops.
Meal pickups at Bloomfield High School are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. The district said it distributed 1,038 meals Monday.
The Durango School District 9-R said it would begin providing food options for students Wednesday.
The district said any child under the age of 18 would be eligible to pick up the take-home packaged breakfast and lunch, but a child must be present to pick up the meal. The district said its pickup sites would include in-town locations and remote bus stops to reach all families in Durango.
9-R asks families to complete a form on its website by Friday to request meals for next week. Another form will be sent for the week of March 31 to April 3.