TALLADEGA COUNTY -- Now that the Talladega City, Talladega County and Sylacauga school boards have all announced their decisions about how schools will reopen next month, the next step will be to determine how they will handle meal distribution in the new year.
As of Friday afternoon, the answer across the board seems to be they will be providing meals, but the details still have to be worked out.
“That is something we’re still working on,” county schools Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Lacey said. “We know we will still be serving meals daily, like we always do … For the students that are in school, we will be working on keeping our lunchrooms at half capacity, and we’ll be having some students that will be eating in their classrooms or other areas.
“For the students in the Beacon Academy (the online learning program for the county system), we’re still working on a plan, but we should be announcing something fairly soon.”
Talladega City Superintendent Tony Ball and Sylacauga Superintendent Dr. Jon Segars both said they are waiting on more information.
“I can’t give any exact details yet, but we’re still trying to get the word out to everyone we can with internet access,” Ball said. “We’re planning a one-day-per-week, drive-thru pickup, like what we did starting in March, but the rules are going to be a little bit stricter this time. In the spring and summer, we could give seven days worth of meals, but now there are different rules, so we’ll only be able to do five days at a time.
“We also discussed using buses to deliver the meals, but there were some issues there with temperature control, so we’re not going to be able to do that.”
Talladega City Schools Child Nutrition Program Director Melinda Bailey said Friday she was still trying to get a handle on how many parents wanted to participate and whether they qualified for free, reduced-price or regularly-priced meals. “We’re hoping we can get meals to everyone, like we did in the spring,” she said.
In Sylacauga, Segars said, “We will be providing meals for everyone that wants them. We don’t know how many we will have in class, but the numbers are starting to roll in from registration. That will let us know how many we’ll be feeding on campus and how many students are not on campus but still want meals. We will provide those meals, paid for with state and federal funding.
“Of course, our top priorities are educating our students and keeping them safe, but the next most important (priority) after that is providing them with meals. Give us a week or two, and we will have a plan for how to do that.”