Premont ISD puts kids' meals on wheels

Posted at 11:26 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 01:55:52-04

When decisions were made to start shutting down the public school districts, real concerns were raised about the students who rely on federal meal programs in their schools.

That included the Premont school district, which has come up with a novel solution.

When the district initially made the decision to shut down, the plan was to set-up a curbside service for meals.

But Premont is a rural area, and a lot of students don't live in town. Curbside really wasn't the best solution.

"A ton of our kids that live out on the ranches may not have the opportunity or means to come into town and go through the curbside," said Premont Superintendent Steve Van Metre. "And our bus drivers, who are very critical to us, were out of work."

So Wednesday, the district came up with a better plan for utilizing the school buses.

"So instead of running routes and picking up kids, we would run routes and deliver food," VanMatre said.

The service started Thursday morning, and it went pretty well, although VanMatre says they probably could have done better getting the word out.

"Uh, but we had a 150 families at the bus stops receiving breakfast this moning which was a lot higher than I thought we would have," he said.

The district is doing two runs a day -- breakfast at the regular time, and the lunch routes, which start at 10:30 a.m.

The meals are part of a federal program, and children ages 1-18 are eligible.

The district will provide the meal service for as long as necessary.

"Hopefully that won't be very long, but we're planning for an extended period of time," VanMatre said.

The district also is providing distance learning opportunities.

Chromebooks, and various supplimentary learning materials, are being provided so students don't fall too far behind.

"Knowing we can't duplicate the effectiveness that goes on in the classroom, we're gonna do everything that we can to try to get as close to that as possible," he said. "And having those kids fed helps with that initiative."

In the meantime, VanMatre said the custodial staff is in the process of cleaning all the schools as if they were hospitals.