KISD Serves Meals, Superintendent Urges Calm

Cafeteria staff serving breakfast, lunch this week
03/17/2020
By: Todd Martin
Killeen ISD began serving breakfast and lunch Tuesday from 12 selected school sites and Superintendent John Craft urged residents to remain calm and to expect a return to normalcy as soon as safely possible.
 
Speaking to news media in the Harker Heights Elementary School cafeteria as school nutrition staff members distributed lunch bags outside, Craft emphasized that school leaders are in constant communication with state and local leaders and are making rational decisions.
 
He also maintained that the situation with the spreading coronavirus is fluid and will continue to change.
 
While the superintendent said he hoped school could resume Monday, he said plans are underway for many scenarios to limit large crowds, provide online and home-based learning and to maintain employee compensation.
 
Late Thursday or early Friday, he said, are likely times to make decisions about resuming school.
 
Responding to another question, Craft said there are multiple scenarios to how the district would handle graduation ceremonies. The current school calendar, he said, is on hold.
 
A return to class, he said, would likely be considered optional without mandatory attendance. He also acknowledged the opportunity to remind students about the importance of social distancing and diligent hygiene to reduce viral spread.
 
Repeatedly, he said it is a priority to prevent public panic. “I am asking parents to relax,” he said.
 
School district leaders are in touch with the Centers for Disease Control, Fort Hood and Bell County Health Department officials.
 
Board President Corbett Lawler praised Craft’s leadership. The former Killeen High School principal, a retired educator with 50 years’ experience echoed the superintendent’s call for calm.
 
Continually updated resources, including the video from Craft’s news conference, are available at www.killeenisd.org/COVID19
 
In the days leading to the district’s decision to delay the return to school, correspondence to KISD staff members addressed compensation, campus closure, job duties, concerns about illness, the student feeding plan, the governor’s decision to waive STAAR testing, event changes, network security and home instruction.
 
Response teams are in place for school nutrition, human resources, accounts payable, campus security, network security, curriculum, facilities and communications.
 
Free Breakfast and Lunch Available
Breakfast and lunch are available this week for Killeen ISD students 18 and younger at 12 schools. On the first day of service, the district served 510 for breakfast and 1,861 for lunch.
 
Breakfast is available from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and lunch is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The meals are all “grab-and-go” style. The schedule is currently set daily through Friday, March 20.
 
On Tuesday at Hay Branch Elementary School, cafeteria staff members stood at the front door, greeting all children and parents as they arrived. About 25 students took advantage of the first day of breakfast.
 
During the first day of lunch service at Harker Heights Elementary School, cafeteria staff members served more than 200 students.
 
“I’m so impressed with our cooks,” said Principal Carolyn Dugger, who assisted with resupplying the bag lunches. “These ladies work daily with our students and the kids know them.”
 
The principal said she thought that seeing familiar faces was just as important as the sandwiches, fruit and milk in the bags.
 
“Families are coming and they’re getting comfort,” Dugger said. “The familiar faces are important, even more than food. The outpouring of love is what it is all about.”
 
Earlier in the day, as the fog lifted, determined Hay Branch cafeteria workers Michele Sturdivant and Elvi Ellis decided to employ some marketing efforts.
 
They grabbed a long piece of paper and scribbled out the times for free breakfast and lunch and taped the makeshift sign to the school perimeter fence.
 
Later, they remembered an already-made sign still hanging in the cafeteria.
 
The pair grabbed the large sign decorated with Dr. Seuss characters from the recent Seuss birthday that coincided with National School Breakfast Week just before spring break. They taped that colorful sign to the fence as well.
 
Grab-and-go sack breakfast and lunches are available at the following locations:
 
Cedar Valley, Hay Branch, Harker Heights, Oveta Culp Hobby, Peebles, Pershing Park, Reeces Creek, West Ward and Willow Springs elementary schools, Manor and Rancier middle schools and the Shoemaker High School concession stand. An additional lunch site begins Wednesday at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Texas at the Mary Marie Multi-Use Center at 400 Gold Star Avenue (City Park) in Nolanville.
 
 
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