School Drive-Through Feeds Students’ Bodies, Minds

School Drive-Through Feeds Students’ Bodies, Minds
Posted on 10/13/2020
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Article featured in the Buckeye Community Hope Foundation - Sponsor Update - October 2020

School drive-through feeds students’ bodies, minds

Schools throughout the country – including those here in Ohio – have never faced a challenge quite like the global COVID pandemic. But they are rising to the challenge of addressing students’ needs, even as so many temporarily abandoned plans to begin the new school year in-person or with a hybrid teaching model.

Constellation Schools: Lorain Community Middle (Constellation Lorain), slated to operate remotely for the first nine weeks of the new school year, has turned its parking lot into a drive-through for families to pick up essentials, including much-needed food for students, 100 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged.

Using funds already budgeted to feed students under normal circumstances, Constellation Lorain is providing five breakfast and five lunch meals – plus 10 cartons of milk, a mix of white and chocolate – for every student each week during two scheduled pick-up times.

“We started out ordering enough food to provide for every student,” said Principal Jordan McHugh said. “That, of course, resulted in some surplus, which we’ve donated to a local church that distributes meals to those in need. We have an obligation to make sure our students don’t go hungry and that excess food doesn’t go to waste.”

McHugh is using his regular food services vendor with tweaks made to menus. Individual boxes of frozen food are delivered to the school first thing in the morning, thawing throughout the day as they are distributed.

“We’ve used the same drive-through approach to distribute other essentials to students, including school supplies and technology equipment,” McHugh said. “Every student has received a Chromebook, or in some cases a refurbished laptop, to facilitate remote learning. The drive-through system has worked quite well for students, families and staff. It’s safe, which is really important, and efficient.”

McHugh has had to be resourceful in ensuring that all students – many of whom do not have Internet access in their homes -- have access to online curriculum, connecting families with agencies that can help, making them aware of locations for public WiFi access, and providing hot spots for those most in need.

“It’s so important that we keep students engaged, despite the fact that they aren’t physically in our classrooms,” McHugh said. “Ensuring that students have the basic tools needed to learn under such unusual circumstances is absolutely critical.”

McHugh hopes students can safely return to classrooms in November. In the meantime, he and his team will continue to engage with students electronically, maintaining a personal connection with families with the regular drive-through activities.