MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Schools announced Friday it will no longer be providing food for students while they are out of class for weeks on end.
The district’s plan to use its central nutrition center is canceled after one of its employees tested positive for coronavirus.
"Shelby County Schools learned that a central nutrition services employee has possibly tested positive for COVID-19,” said Dr. Joris Ray, SCS Superintendent.
Friday, Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray said it was confirmed the employee did have the coronavirus.
The employee was last at the North Memphis Nutrition Center on Monday. It is not clear why that person was not at work on Tuesday. SCS says the employee did not handle food. The school system is now tracing who that employee came in contact with. But that one case means an end to a plan to distribute meals to children in need.
"In an abundance of caution, and because there are so many unknown factors about the spread of the virus, we are suspending our planned meal preparation and planned community wide distribution indefinitely,” said Ray.
Dr. Ray says SCS has already contacted groups like the Mid-South Food Bank for help.
"So the school system is already sending me their sites they were going to serve and we're going to look at them this weekend and come up with a plan where we can put mobile distribution, so we can take care of most of the sites,” said Cathy Pope, Mid-South Food Bank.
The food will be given out at the food bank’s mobile pantries. It won’t be ready-to-eat meals for the children, but more food for the family.
“We’ll have frozen vegetables, fresh produce bakery items, that type of thing. So, it won’t be a kids meal, but it will be something for the whole family," said Pope.
Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter said she is not concerned about carry out orders at restaurants, but did not comment on the school food plan situation.
The Mid-South Food Bank has not yet determined where the food will be distributed, but it should be in the neighborhoods. The schools hope other groups will step up and help.