More than 900 Meals Delivered to Athens City Schools Students During Pandemic

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Athens City Schools reported delivering more than 900 meals to students who are at home while schools are shut down.

The school buildings closed at the order of Gov. Mike DeWine earlier this month in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus for three weeks.

But you will still see Athens City School District buses around.

The district started delivering meals for students on Monday, March 23, handing out 936 breakfast and lunch meals on the first day.

But this may be just the beginning, according to Tom Gibbs, Superintendent for the ACSD.

“I believe that if this kind of stay-in-place lasts very long, that number will increase significantly.”

Gibbs explained that the demand for meals is in large part due to Athens County’s high poverty rates and subsequent food insecurity.

“Also, we have a lot of families right now that maybe work in a service industry or a non essential form of business. Their need will be greater now than it would be typically. So we’re trying to fill that gap as best we can.”

ACSD busses delivering breakfast and lunch meals to lockdown students during coronavirus emergency.
ACSD busses delivering breakfast and lunch meals to lockdown students during coronavirus emergency.

The meals are delivered by the district’s bus system to the households of parents who filled out the survey sent out last week by the superintendent’s office and to those who they reached out directly to.

For safety precautions, the staff packaging the breakfast and lunch meals are wearing gloves and working six feet away from each other.

“When they go around door to door, the staff is encouraged not to interact directly with the families,” Gibbs said. This is why the brown bags with the meals are left, preferably, on doorsteps and porches.

The meals are “shelf-stable food” that do not need refrigeration because the buses don’t have that capability. But this means the food can last for more than one day.


Gibbs said the deliveries will continue until schools re-open or the end of the semester, “whichever comes first.”

Resuming Online Classes

Regarding the re-start of classes for K-12 students in the district, Gibbs said that as soon as they have the budget-friendly laptops (Chromebook) and internet hotspots delivered to the households that needs them, they will be able to resume school via remote-learning.

Last week ACSD announced 16% of their students stated they had no internet available at home.

“Hopefully they should be in by the end of the month and we’ll deliver them next week,” Gibbs said.