Published 6:36 PM EDT Mar 16, 2020
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With schools now closed through March 30 to slow the spread of COVID-19, Brevard County families that depend on schools for student meals will soon have some relief.
Brevard Public Schools announced Monday that, beginning March 23, it will begin offering free meals to children 18 years and younger to offset the gap in services due to school closures.
From 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, families can visit one of 12 pick-up sites at schools around the county to receive daily meal packages consisting of one breakfast meal and one lunch per child, said Nicki Hensley, a school district spokeswoman.
Measures will be in place to minimize personal contact amid safety concerns about the new coronavirus, Hensley said, a practice known as “social distancing.”
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“Parents will have to drive up in the bus loop, and volunteers will put the packages in their trunk, to make sure we’re keeping with (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines on social distancing,” she said.
Families on foot also will be subject to distancing measures, Hensley said.
Among other recommendations, the CDC has suggested keeping a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Children must be present to receive meals and cafeterias and other school buildings will not be open to students and parents.
“I’m glad we got this out today,” Hensley said. “We’ve been watching social media and calls, and this was a major priority for us.”
More: Coronavirus Brevard County: Here’s what school officials want parents to know
The announcement comes two days after the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services — which administers the state’s federally funded school lunch program — was granted a waiver by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allowing districts to offer meals during school closures through the Summer Food Service Program and the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option.
The move makes available federal funding typically reserved for summer meal programs to be used during school closures due to the COVID-19 virus.
“For millions of Florida’s children, school meals are the only meals they can count on,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a statement. “We thank the USDA for helping us provide schools with flexible options to make school meals available.”
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The pick-up sites are:
Atlantis Elementary, 7300 Briggs Ave.Cambridge Elementary, 2000 Cambridge Drive.
Sherwood Elementary, 2541 Post Road.University Park Elementary, 500 W. University Blvd.
MILA Elementary, 288 W. Merritt Ave.
Mims Elementary, 2582 U.S. 1
Jupiter Elementary, 950 Tupelo Road SW.Sunrise Elementary, 1651 Mara Loma Blvd.Turner Elementary, 3175 Jupiter Blvd. SE.
Golfview Elementary, 1530 S. Fiske Blvd.
Coquina Elementary, 850 Knox McRae Drive.
Central Middle School, 2600 Wingate Blvd.
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Contact Rogers at 321-242-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @EricRogersFT.