/ Articles / Lakeland area school districts to provide meals for students
Last Friday, Governor Tony Evers directed Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) Secretary-designee Andrea Palm to issue an agency order mandating the statewide closure of all public and private K-12 schools as part of the state’s efforts to respond to and contain the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
The mandatory closure was set to begin Wednesday, March 18 to give schools ample time to make plans for students, their families, educators and staff. The anticipated re-opening date was April 6.
However, a mandate issued by Gov. Evers on Tuesday extended that mandatory closure to be in effect for the duration of the public health emergency, or until another order lifts the restriction.
Meal delivery services
The Lakeland area school districts have established plans to provide meals for district students, either via drop-off or pick-up.
“... We’re trying to come up with plans for a variety of different things, one is meals,” North Lakeland School district administrator Brent Jelinski said. “We know that some students are probably going without meals while the school is closed.”
Jelinski said the state had created an easier application for a program that allows schools to provide meals during an unanticipated school closure due to the novel coronavirus in a non-congregate setting.
At the North Lakeland School District board meeting Monday, Jelinski said a survey would be sent out to student families residing in the school’s district to gauge interest in meals provided by the school.
“If they are, we’re going to utilize the bus routes to deliver meals every day,” Jelinski said. “That will include a breakfast item for the following morning and a lunch item for that day.”
Jelinski said the district should be able to deliver the meals to interested families, and the meals would include “as many non-perishable items as possible.”
The meal service was projected to start Thursday, according to Jelinski, and would remain in effect for the remainder of the closure.
“Unless we run into some supply issues, as of right now, we can do it,” Jelinski said. “If we run out of supplies, that’s just something we’re going to have to address when the time comes.”
Jelinski said the district would reassess as needed during the closure.
According to a press release from the Manitowish Waters Chamber of Commerce, breakfast and lunch meals will be available, at no cost, for North Lakeland and Mercer School families.
“Gracious donors have made it possible during this tough time, for us to provide replacement meals the kids might be missing out on due to the state wide school closings,” the press release states.
The announcement directs families to sign up for the meal service by calling the Manitowish Waters Chamber of Commerce.
“This is an amazing act of kindness and we encourage our community members to accept this assistance,” the press release reads. “We are so proud to be part of such an incredible and supportive community.”
The Lac du Flambeau Public School district’s food distribution service began March 18 with meals being available for pick-up in the Lac du Flambeau Public School parking lot from 9 to 11 a.m.
Lakeland Union High School will also be providing bagged breakfast and lunch meals to students during the school’s closure beginning March 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for LUHS, and Lakeland STAR School/Academy students. Meals will be distributed alongside the glass atrium to the commons, near the football field.
Parents are advised to have the student’s name and ID number ready, and that a member of the LUHS food service staff will deliver meals directly to them.
Arbor-Vitae Woodruff Elementary School will be providing lunches for families starting March 19, regardless of lunch status at three different distribution sites.
Lunches will be available at the Faith Free Evangelical Church in Arbor Vitae, the Arbor Vitae Town Hall, and the AV-W Elementary School front sidewalk from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and at the Ojibwe Market in Lac du Flambeau for open enrollment students from 9 to 11 a.m. to families who filled out lunch service request forms.
Beginning Thursday, March 19, the Minocqua J1 School District, with A’viands Food Service, will be providing breakfast and lunch to district families by request at three locations, the Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk main entrance area, the Minocqua Park Complex pavilion on State Highway 70 West, and the Lake Tomahawk Raymond F. Sloan Community Center from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
More information regarding meal distribution services are provided on each district’s website.
Kayla Houp may be reached via email at [email protected]