Last week, once the COVID-19 closings and cancellations really started to pile up, Hampshire County Schools were working hard to make sure that meals were available for the students of the county.

These meals were delivered by school bus to kids around the county, and now the program is adjusting the process, bumping the daily delivery to a once-a-week system, where students get meals for 5 days instead of a daily pickup or delivery.

“Over 10,000 meals went out the door today,” said Superintendent Jeff Pancione on Monday, saying that some locations were able to bring out hot meals for the kids too.

The delivery time, in order to adequately prepare for the packaging of such a large amount of meals, was also bumped to an hour later at 11 a.m. The meal pickup at the schools was available Monday from noon to 1 p.m.

The fluid, ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic is at the core of this shift, since a threat that constantly is changing is leading our community to constantly adapt.

On Sunday, Pancione announced the new program on Facebook for the meal delivery to kids in the county, explaining that the new program would allow kids to receive meals for 5 days instead of the daily schedule put into place last week.

“Because of our cooks, cafeteria managers, our bus drivers and phenomenal number of other staff, every location I visited was smooth, almost flawless,” Pancione described.

Additionally, after the school staff completed the preparations for Monday’s food plan, Pancione explained the new situation for school employees, as far as their duties and whether they are supposed to report to the school or not.

“After we fed [on Monday], we are shutting down,” said Pancione, saying that all school employees, including custodial staff and maintenance crews, were to no longer report to the schools “unless it’s for emergencies.”

“Principals should pop in long enough to do their check on the school,” Pancione explained, “Whatever they need to do, you know, basic, minute tasks.”

Pancione’s announcement of the changes being made to the food delivery program in Hampshire County also thanked the community for their patience, understanding and cooperation as the schools continue to overcome the challenges being thrown their way because of the virus.

He also noted that the situation continues to be monitored, and that he will post updates for next week when that decision is made.

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