Covid-19 Task Force recommends giving meals to PSS students

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COVID-19 Task Force chairman Warren Villagomez said the Public School System should continue distributing student meals, a program that PSS suspended until March 30.

But he said PSS staff should wear personal protective equipment when handing out the food in an open area. “The risk is very minimal,” said Villagomez, who is also the Public Health and Emergency Program director of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.

During a Board of Education emergency meeting on Monday, Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred Ada said PSS suspended the distribution of student meal to avoid the gathering of a large number people following the directive to practice social distancing issued by the Office of the Governor.

“They can do social distancing by not walking closely together,” CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said, referring to PSS staff and students.

Press Secretary Kevin Bautista agreed with Muna, saying a lot of students need the meals. “For some of them, the meals are their primary food sources.”

Villagomez noted that the meal program is federally contracted. “So let the contractor facilitate it. Their food handlers are trained in infection control.”

In suspending the distribution of student meals, PSS-Child Nutrition Program director Dale Roberts said the school system was being proactive in not bringing people together in a public area.

“Because families are self-quarantined together and our children are also in the same household with elderly folks, we run the risk of bringing those kids to school to give them food and then mingling with other people that may have it — they can end up bringing it to their manamko’ that are at risk,” Roberts said.

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