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Article

Maintaining School Foodservice Operations in Ohio during COVID-19: “This [Was] Not the Time to Sit Back and Watch”

1
Medical Dietetics, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
2
Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Education and Human Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078, USA
3
John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Lorrene D. Ritchie, Gurpinder Singh Lalli and Wendi Gosliner
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(10), 5991; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105991
Received: 31 March 2022 / Revised: 4 May 2022 / Accepted: 12 May 2022 / Published: 14 May 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Improving School Nutrition: Innovations for the 21st Century)
The COVID-19-related lockdowns led to school closures across the United States, cutting off critical resources for nutritious food. Foodservice employees emerged as frontline workers; understanding their experiences is critical to generate innovations for program operations and viability. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to characterize COVID-19-related foodservice adaptations for summer and school year meal provision. Public school district foodservice administrators across Ohio were surveyed in December 2020. Questions related to meal provision before, during, and after COVID-19-related school closures. Results indicate the majority of districts continued providing meals upon their closure in Spring 2020 (n = 182, 87.1%); fewer did so in Summer (n = 88, 42.1%) and Fall (n = 32, 15.3%). In Spring and Summer, most districts that offered meals functioned as ‘open sites’ (67.0% and 87.5%, respectively), not limiting food receipt to district-affiliated students. Most districts employed a pick-up system for food distribution (76–84% across seasons), though some used a combination of approaches or changed their approach within-season. Qualitatively, districts reported both “successes” (e.g., supporting students) and “challenges” (e.g., supply chain). Despite being ill-prepared, districts responded quickly and flexibly to demands of the pandemic. This analysis provides insight for future practice (e.g., establishing community partnerships) and policy (e.g., bolstering local food systems). View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; food services; diet quality; food insecurity; school foodservice; civil defense; food supply; nutrition policy; hunger COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; food services; diet quality; food insecurity; school foodservice; civil defense; food supply; nutrition policy; hunger
MDPI and ACS Style

Braun, A.; Hawley, J.D.; Garner, J.A. Maintaining School Foodservice Operations in Ohio during COVID-19: “This [Was] Not the Time to Sit Back and Watch”. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 5991. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105991

AMA Style

Braun A, Hawley JD, Garner JA. Maintaining School Foodservice Operations in Ohio during COVID-19: “This [Was] Not the Time to Sit Back and Watch”. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(10):5991. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105991

Chicago/Turabian Style

Braun, Ashlea, Joshua D. Hawley, and Jennifer A. Garner. 2022. "Maintaining School Foodservice Operations in Ohio during COVID-19: “This [Was] Not the Time to Sit Back and Watch”" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 10: 5991. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19105991

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