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Arizona schools closed through April 10, FUSD free meal service starting Monday
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Arizona schools closed through April 10, FUSD free meal service starting Monday

From the A collection of the Daily Sun's coronavirus coverage series
Flagstaff Unified School District Logo

In response to the now-extended school closures following the COVID-19 outbreak, Flagstaff Unified School District will be providing free breakfasts and lunches for local children.

Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced Friday that Arizona schools will be closed for an additional two weeks, through April 10. In a letter to families and the state education community, Ducey and Hoffman said the safest place for children during the closures is at home, away from elderly adults or those with underlying health conditions.

“Our goal is to get kids safely back in the classroom as soon as possible while providing parents and educators certainty so they can plan and make decisions,” Ducey and Hoffman wrote. “We will continue to work together to determine what’s best for Arizona kids and schools in the face of COVID-19.”

FUSD’s meal offerings, available starting Monday for any child age 18 and younger — not just FUSD students — will be provided for pickup Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at seven FUSD schools sites: Coconino High School, Cromer Elementary School, Killip Elementary School, Kinsey Elementary School, Leupp Elementary School, Marshall Elementary School and Thomas Elementary School.

Students must be present to pick up meals and must take them off site to maintain social distancing practices. Walk-up and drive-up options will be available at all seven schools, and both breakfast and lunch will be picked up at the same time.

Chartwells, the district’s food service provider, was finalizing meal options this week, said FUSD spokesperson Zachery Fountain.

“It is going to be more than a turkey sandwich and a vegetable,” Fountain said. “We’re working to make sure we’re providing really good meals that mix up from day to day.”

The meal program, provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a reworking of the district’s longtime summer food service program. The school sites that will be distributing meals are the same as those participating in the summer program, selected based on factors such as geography and demographics, and the number of meals available will be based on historical numbers of students who have received the summer meals.

The Arizona Department of Education is expected to release information regarding high school graduation as affected by the school closures in the coming weeks.

Expect More Arizona, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education advocacy group, has compiled a list of student and family resources, including resources in Coconino County, for use during the closure. The list is online at www.expectmorearizona.org/blog/2020/03/17/parent-and-community-resources-for-arizona-families-during-covid-19/.

Kaitlin Olson can be reached at the office at kolson@azdailysun.com or by phone at (928) 556-2253.

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