Durham public schools will end their food distribution program after an employee who helped distribute meals to children during the pandemic tested positive for COVID-19.
The employee worked at the Bethesda elementary school site, which produced 400 to 500 meals for distribution sites and directly distributed around 100 meals, according to a DPS press release Thursday afternoon. All meals are eaten off-site, said a spokesperson.
The employee did not participate in the preparation of the food and did not come to work after taking the test, the statement said. DPS learned of the test results on Wednesday evening, he said.
The employee’s temperature was regularly monitored and was normal during work.
Employees who worked at the Bethesda site were sent home and asked to contact the Durham County health department.
DPS also announced on Thursday evening that it will distribute its final meals on Monday, April 6, “due to the continued spread of COVID-19, the desire to keep our staff safe and healthy, and the expansion of other food aid programs serving North Carolina. families, “according to a second press release.
Meal delivery will continue as scheduled on Friday at more than 67 schools and community sites listed on the DPS website. On Monday, DPS will distribute the equivalent of a week of children’s lunches to the following locations:
- Bethesda Elementary
- R.N. Harris Elementary
- Shepard Middle School
- Githens Middle
- Southwestern Elemental
- Lakewood Middle
- Eno Valley Elementary
- Eastway elementary
- Glenn Elementary
- Sandy Ridge Elementary School
- Hillandale Elementary
- Club Blvd Elementary School
- Southern Secondary School
Other food programs available
DPS started the feeding program on March 23.
In its first week, it provided 27,857 breakfasts and 27,854 snacks for a total of 55,711 meals at 81 sites, the statement said.
The State Department of Health and Human Services has increased benefits for current food and nutrition recipients until April, according to the press release.
Families can also find three drive-in or take-out dining sites via No Kid Hungry North Carolina by texting FOODNC at 877-877, the statement said. The DPS Foundation has also worked with other local partners and restaurants to provide family meals.
DPS staff will distribute educational materials to support home learning at the 53 school sites on Tuesday, April 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Employee health now at the center
In a statement, Superintendent Pascal Mubenga thanked the more than 400 full-time or part-time DPS workers who helped distribute the food in one way or another.
“We must now focus on the health and well-being of our employees,” he said.
Due to state emergency leave legislation, eligible staff whose workload has been cut or reduced will continue to be paid in full until the end of April, the statement said.
Schools in the city of Lexington have reshuffled their food delivery schedule after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus, the district announced on Wednesday, The Charlotte Observer reported.