News from the Food Service Department October/November 2020
please note there have been changes to the meals distribution for december while the schools are in district-wide remote learing. Please visit our home page for the most up-to-date schedule.
From the Food Service Director
Dear Parents and Families:
GOOD NEWS: On October 9, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture announced a waiver that allows us to continue providing free meals to children for the entire 2020/21 school year!
FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR, whether your child is in the school building or learning from home! We know that the children are working hard, and we are ready to provide them with the fuel they need. Not coincidentally, these services are also making it easier for parents who are juggling obligations of work and parenting in a new way. We encourage all children to enjoy the selections our kitchen managers are putting together on their in-school days. These are times when the children can relax a bit and enjoy social dining.
Elementary school children are already bringing home meals each week, and we hope that parents of middle school and high school students will take two minutes to complete a form so that their children can also bring home breakfast and lunch kits. This one step can alleviate some of the time, logistics, or financial challenges families face. [Form for Cohort A] [Form for Cohort B]
Since the start of school, we have been providing a week’s worth of breakfast and lunch packages to families who are using the Distance Learning model. NEW! Families no longer are required to complete a form to obtain the meals. They can drive through one of three distribution sites on Wednesday mornings to pick up meals.
Providing meals to children when their school building has temporarily closed has been a process requiring us to be nimble and agile, and we continue to learn how to do this more effectively each time. I invite you to visit our Food Services page regularly and to also follow our social account for updates. Search @groton.student.nutrition on Facebook.
Together we will Feed Their Bodies and Fuel Their Minds!
Ernie J. Koschmieder, Food Service Director
SAFETY IS OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY
CDC and USDA Safety Protocols are practiced by our entire staff including the following:
• Masks worn at all times
• Gloves and hair restraints in place
• All paper takeout containers
• Wrapped plastic ware
• Deep sanitizing of all kitchens, carts, and equipment after each shift
Fitch High and Groton Middle schools students take their meals back to their designated locations, grab & go style. In most cases, meals are delivered to the classrooms in the elementary schools.
Take-Home Meals for Distance Learners and for Hybrid Learners’ School-at-Home Days
All Take-Home Meals
All take home meals are packaged as both breakfast and lunch and are charged at the same price as in-school meals. Families are responsible for payment based on the child's eligibility status. To pre-order meals, families will complete a Google Form for each child on the school’s website.
Meals for Distance Learners
Breakfast and Lunch packages for distance learners are available to be picked up on Wednesdays from 9am-10am at three distribution sites: Groton Library, Branford Manor neighborhood or Mary Morrisson School. NEW! Effective October 23 families no longer need to pre-order meals. Simple, drive up, drive thru to pick up a school week's worth of meals.
Meals for Hybrid Learners’ School-at-Home Days
Elementary Schools Take-home breakfast and lunch are provided to all elementary school hybrid-plan students on Tuesdays (Cohort A) and Fridays (Cohort B) containing nutritious meals for their school-at-home days. Families wishing to discontinue this service should contact their school's kitchen manager.
Groton Middle and Fitch High Schools We ask families of hybrid students to complete a request form for your child to take home meals (and let them know). NEW! Effective October 23: Once your child is on the hybrid take home list they will remain there until you opt out by contacting your school's kitchen manager.
On the Menu – Breakfast & Lunch, at school and at home!
New district policy for 2020-21: 100% Nut Free PB&J will not be available at any school
Menus are posted to the Food Services page on a monthly basis.
Breakfast and Lunch for each school level
Hybrid Take-Home four-week rotation menu
Fully Distance pick-up menu
Healthy Classroom Celebration menu for elementary schools
We hope you enjoy planning meals with your children.
Given the need for flexibility based on health conditions in the region and the availability of products from our vendors, menu items and procedures are subject to change. We thank you for your patience and understanding.
MyPaymentsPlus for Food Service Payment Transactions
MyPaymentsPlus is a very efficient method for meals payment. A MyPaymentsPlus account combines convenience with 24/7 access to your child's account and transaction history. This is a secure, third party platform that charges a processing fee for each transaction. Visit https://www.mypaymentsplus.com to set up an account for monitoring transactions (free of charge) or to prepay meals online. You will need your child's Student ID to open the account.
To follow best safety practices, kitchen staff will not be accepting payments.
Charging Policy. Charging meals is not encouraged by the district, but on those occasions that students do not have payment, they will be offered a meal. Please view the Groton Public Schools District Policy regarding charging meals.
Why should you complete the Free & Reduced-price Meals Application?
• Status from previous years does not apply. While your child may be receiving benefits, it may be through a grace period based on last year's benefits. Families who qualified in previous years should complete an application for the 2020-21 school year as soon as possible.
• In many cases, families have experienced significant changes in job status. Reduction of hours, lay-offs and furloughs may effect eligibility status.
• Completed applications, regardless of eligibility determination aid our Student Nutrition Program in applying for a variety of grants such as taste testing (smoothies! fresh fruits & vegetables! yum!) and farm field trips. We thank you for completing the applications so that we can work behind the scenes to obtain these grants that benefit all children at Groton Public Schools.
• Your information is secure. We understand that the information you provide on the application is sensitive. This information is returned to our Food Service office and is not shared with any principal, teacher, superintendent or the state.
• Your immigration or citizen status is not required and does not affect the eligibility for your child to get free or reduced-price meals.
• It's easy. The form is available through a secure online portal at GrotonSchools.org and can be accessed in any language. Printable copies in Spanish are available on the school site, and hard copies of the form in English are sent home with each child at the start of the year. If your status changes, a new copy of the form can be requested from your school secretary or our office.