GCSD 2020-21 Reopening Plan: Child Nutrition

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School meals will continue to be available to all students, including those attending school in-person and those learning remotely.


Meals Onsite

For students onsite, meals will be provided while maintaining appropriate social distancing between students. Students do not need to wear face coverings when seated and eating so long as they are appropriately socially distanced.

The district will ensure social distancing between individuals while eating in the school cafeteria. If not feasible, meals may be served in alternate areas (e.g., classrooms) or in staggered meal periods to ensure social distancing between students and proper cleaning and disinfection.

The sharing of food and beverages (e.g., buffet-style meals, snacks) is prohibited unless individuals are members of the same household. Adequate space will be reserved for students, faculty, and staff maintain social distancing while eating meals.

Below are details for three onsite dining scenarios. The district will determine when each scenario will be used based on guidance from the state department of health and the state education department.

Meals in Classrooms

  • Students will dine in the classroom by picking up plated and limited touch items from the school cafeteria.
  • Efforts will be taken in the cafeteria serving line to significantly limit access to surfaces.
  • Pre-ordering is strongly encouraged to limit the time needed for each group to go through the lunch line. Orders would need to be submitted by 9 a.m. the morning of or the prior day preferably. Schoolcafe system pre-ordering will be utilized in middle and high school buildings while a google sheet will be utilized at the elementary building level.
  • No cash exchange at the register. The use of the online school payment system is encouraged. Cash or check payment shall be sent down to the cafeteria by the teacher.
  • Students with allergies will be identified to each classroom teacher and will be provided a specific table for food consumption if necessary. The severity of the allergy will dictate if certain foods will not be allowed in a specific classroom.
  • Students will be required to sanitize their hands before consuming their meal either via hand washing or sanitizer, depending on accessibility to sinks. Signs will be visible in each classroom reminding students of proper handwashing procedures.
  • Students will be reminded that the sharing of food, beverages, and utensils is prohibited and not appropriate unless students reside in the same household.

District to provide:

  • Masks to be worn by staff.
  • Face shields and masks for cashiers. Face shields and masks will be used at the registers and serving areas to protect staff and students where social distancing cannot occur.
  • Frequently touched surfaces (e.g. doorways, tables, etc.) before and after each group will be sanitized.
  • Social distancing marks on the floor will be used throughout the lunch line from the entrance to the exit.
  • Communication posters will be hung in the hallway that borders the cafeteria, in the entrances and exits of the lunch line, within the lunch line and in the cafeteria. These posters will encourage students/staff to stay home when sick, etiquette on coughing and sneezing, good hand hygiene and reminding students/staff to maintain a safe distance from one another.
  • Hand Sanitizing stations will be in place at the entrances and exits of each lunch line and in each classroom.
  • Communication posters reminding students of proper handwashing techniques will be posted in each classroom and eating area.
  • Garbage cans will be strategically placed throughout and in the hallways outside classrooms. All food/trash will be disposed of when done eating in the classroom.
  • Each classroom will have a spray bottle of sanitizing cleaner provided to them each day with 2 clean cloth rags for breakfast and lunch. Garbage cans will be emptied by custodians when full.

Cafeteria team to enact:

  • Eliminate utensils for self-selection by portioning all fruit and vegetables available for self-selection. (these methods will reduce multiple touchpoints down to single access, consistent with public access at food stores and pick up restaurants).
  • Cupped fruit in 4oz container with lid vs. bulk with a scoop or cupped up without lid.
  • Saddlebags used for vegetables, apples, etc. vs. bulk with tongs.
  • Salad greens in 8oz containers with line vs. bulk with tongs.
  • Pizza offered on a 9-inch paper plate vs. using a turner (enables students just to select their own.
  • Hot vegetable bars eliminated and provided on the tray by the cafeteria server at the hot entrée station.
  • Limited food will be put out for each group. For example, one classroom has 15 orders – about 15 orders of fruit will be put out.
  • Limited ala carte snacks to encourage students to only touch what they take.
  • Eliminate touching of pin pad by using roster mode at the registers at all elementary schools. For the middle and high schools, students will be provided with barcodes that will be scanned or they may tell their name to the cashier in the event they do not have their barcode.
  • Switch to all portion-controlled condiments. Cashiers & servers will place on each students’ tray to limit the number of hands touching the condiments.
  • Sanitize frequently touched surfaces before and after each group. Some examples: lunch lines, workstations, cash registers, etc.
  • All staff in the service area should wash hands/sanitize, change gloves for the next group.

Self Selection and Limited Cafeteria Seating

Follow the same outline procedure for classroom dining scenario with the following exceptions listed below:

  • Some groups may eat in the cafeteria in the specified areas/tables, to follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Other groups may still eat in the classroom
  • Hand sanitizer or handwashing stations will be made available within cafeteria areas

District to provide:

Follow the same outline procedure in classroom dining with the following exceptions:

    •  Some groups may eat in the cafeteria in the specified areas/tables, to follow social distancing guidelines. Other groups may still eat in the classroom.
    • Hand sanitizer or handwashing stations will be made available within cafeteria areas.

Cafeteria team to enact:

  • Self-selection and shared surface touching can return by limiting intervals.
  • Limited number of food sides. 

Group Dining in the Cafeteria with Expected Student Behavior

District to provide:

  • Communication posters remain in the hallway that borders, in the entrances and exits of the lunch line, within the lunch line and out in the cafeteria. These posters will encourage students/staff to stay home when sick, etiquette on coughing and sneezing, good hand hygiene and reminding students/staff to maintain a safe distance from one another.
  • Hand Sanitizing stations will be in place at the entrances and exits of each lunch line and out in the cafeterias.
  • Most students will eat in the cafeteria, with accommodations made for high-risk individuals.

Cafeteria team to enact:

  • Self-selection and shared surface touching remain as stated in the self-selection plan.
  • Cash/check may be provided at the cash register, however, no change will be given.
  • Normal food service sanitizing practices put back in place after each group goes through.

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Meals Offsite/Remote

In the instance of remote learning, students will have two options for acquiring meals. If they are on the district’s rotating hybrid plan, they can pick up their meals for the next day’s off-site learning when they are leaving the school building. Meals will be sent home with heating instructions.

Students that have elected to go fully remote will be able to pick up their meals on Mondays from either Farnsworth Middle School or Guilderland High School.

To request remote meals, please fill out this form, or contact the Food Services Department. Families will only have to fill out the form or contact the department once, and they will remain on the pickup list until they would like to be removed. Pickup times may vary per location but will be communicated to families when they sign up for the service.

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