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Pasadena schools resume grab-and-go meals after coronavirus test upends service

Grab-and-go meal program for Pasadena Unified School District students
Samuel Brounston delivers food through a grab-and-go meal program for Pasadena Unified School District students at Field Elementary School in Pasadena. The program resumed using an outside food vendor, a day after service was suspended due to a district kitchen employee possibly being diagnosed with COVID-19.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

The Pasadena Unified School District is again offering grab-and-go meals for students, one day after the service was suspended because a kitchen employee was tested for the coronavirus.

“Using social distancing and public health guidelines, meals will be provided by an outside vendor with the assistance of city of Pasadena volunteers,” district Supt. Brian McDonald wrote in a message announcing Tuesday’s restart.

Meal service will be offered from 9 to 11 a.m. weekdays at seven schools. A list of sites is available on the district’s website.

The plan is for district staff to step back in on April 14, according to McDonald.

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Grab-and-go meal program for Pasadena Unified School District students
Prepared meals are delivered through a grab-and-go meal program for Pasadena Unified School District students at Field Elementary School in Pasadena.
(Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times)

The district temporarily suspended the meal service Monday after learning of a possible, but as yet unconfirmed, COVID-19 case involving a worker in one of its kitchens.

As of Tuesday, there were 25 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Pasadena, according to city health officials.

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McDonald said the district will deep-clean and sanitize its kitchens and other facilities and has advised the employee’s coworkers they may have been exposed.

“Although we regret the hardship involved with the temporary suspension, we are fully committed to the health and safety of our students, staff and community,” he said.

School districts throughout the state have offered wider to-go meal service since the coronavirus outbreak began to ensure they can still feed students in need even while schools are closed.

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Pasadena district schools are shuttered until at least May 5.

“I am so grateful for the strength and commitment demonstrated every day by the employees of PUSD,” McDonald said.

“In times of crises such as the one we are living through now, it’s clear that heroes don’t always wear capes. Instead, they use computers and telephones to teach, answer phones and emails to keep our operations functioning, and prepare meals so that our students and their families continue to receive the essential services they rely on to get through this crisis.”


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