The provincial government has made clear that public schools across BC are technically not closed, but instead they have merely suspended in-class instruction until further notice.
This allows students and their families to practice physical distancing and self-isolation, and continue their learning to some extent from home, while schools can continue to provide some services such as school-based meal programs.
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With spring break over, Surrey School District states its school-based meal program resumed Monday, providing all students that were previously receiving breakfast and lunch through the program at nine initial school locations with a combination of drive-thru or in-person pick-up capabilities.
This is a vital program for vulnerable students who come from low-income households and depend on school meals for a significant proportion of their daily calorie and nutrition needs.
According to the school district, over 2,100 students in their jurisdiction rely on their meal program, which provides weekday breakfast and lunch. They otherwise would not have these meals.
“The continuation of the meal program during the pandemic was a priority for our district,” said Laurie Larsen, chair of the Surrey Board of Education, in a statement.
“In light of what’s happening globally, we didn’t want our students or their families to have one more thing to worry about.”
During the pandemic, the program will be adjusted to provide a “grab and go” single meal and snack with sufficient calories to cover both breakfast and lunch. The distribution locations will open from 10 am to 1 pm, between Monday and Friday.
This is currently a pilot program, and with adjustments it will be expanded to more locations for added pick-up convenience.
Prior to spring break, the program provided breakfast at over 60 schools, while lunch was offered at 31 locations. Students in need were served with 3,800 meals each school day during the school year.