Pasadena schools suspend grab-and-go meals after potential coronavirus infection

LAUSD volunteer Courtney Johnson delivers food to vehicles at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles this month. Pasadena schools have suspend their grab-and-go program after a kitchen worker fell ill.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

The Pasadena Unified School District has temporarily stopped serving grab-and-go meals for students after a kitchen employee was tested for the coronavirus.

Though a COVID-19 diagnosis hasn’t been confirmed, district officials said they would suspend the meal service starting Monday “out of an abundance of caution,” with hopes of resuming later in the week.

The to-go meals had been available at seven schools.

“We know that this may cause hardship to our families and are working with neighboring school districts to provide meals to PUSD students,” Supt. Brian McDonald wrote in a message to district families Sunday.


Districts statewide have ramped up grab-and-go meal services amid the coronavirus pandemic so students can still receive free food while schools are closed. Campuses in the Pasadena district are shuttered until at least May 5.

One man wore plastic gloves and a face mask as he pulled up in a pickup to receive school-packed meals for his children.

March 18, 2020

McDonald said the district is extensively cleaning and sanitizing its kitchens and other facilities “to minimize any risk of surface transmission.”

District officials also have touched base with the Pasadena Public Health Department, he added, “which has advised that the distribution of meals can continue once sanitizing and disinfection is completed.”

“We want you to know that we have taken immediate action according to our planning, and will adjust operations as needed,” McDonald said. “While the diagnosis of COVID-19 is not confirmed at this time, our hearts are with our PUSD team member and their family during this very difficult time.”

There were 10 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in Pasadena as of Monday morning, according to health officials. No deaths have been reported there.