Meal program to continue at Hancock schools during break

HANCOCK — The Michigan Department of Education stated again Tuesday that school meals will continue to be served to children throughout the state during the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order declared by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday.

Hancock superintendent Steve Patchin, in a Tuesday morning email to parents and students, that Hancock Public Schools is no exception to this.

The student breakfast/lunch pickup, he said, took place on Wednesday, from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. The pickup is curbside, he said, in compliance with social distancing requirements, and parents can still sign up their students.

Patchin also said that many are wondering what the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order means to the school district’s operations. The Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators, he said, is working closely with Gov. Whitmer’s office, and released a statement of clarification:

“While the order extends school closures until at least April 13, 2020,” the statement reads, “educators supporting public and private K-12 schools for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing other essential functions, including food services, are considered essential workforce.”

Patchin said that Hancock Schools will, therefore, continue to operate to serve the community and its students. His list of continued operations includes:

* Our activity packet delivery will be moved from next Monday, March 30 to Wednesday, April 1. It will be part of the student lunch pickup at Barkell Elementary, curbside pick up to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements.

* We will offer weekly book checkout and chrome book check out from the Hancock District Library. See attached document for directions. Weekly pickups will occur at Barkell Elementary during the student breakfast/lunch pickup process. Again, this process will ensure social distancing protocols are being correctly followed.

* Our staff continues to clean and sterilize our facilities, in preparation and hope for your students return to our buildings. Words cannot convey how proud I am of our teachers and staff in response to this crisis.

A March 25 release from Michigan stated that the work of food provision is considered critical infrastructure, which is exempted from these prohibitions. In a message released to the public Monday, Gov. Whitmer affirmed that she “is committed to ensuring that Michigan students have access to the food they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Executive Order 2020-21 directed residents of Michigan to remain at home, prohibiting public and private gatherings among non-family members, and barring non-essential work activities. The executive order took effect at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

The “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order makes specific allowances for food and agriculture work to continue. This includes food service operations at schools, childcare institutions and centers, and emergency feeding operations across the state, the release states.


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