Davis Joint Unified School District continues to offer meals to students amid shutdown

Davis Joint Unified School District continues to offer meals to students amid shutdown

Photo Credits: Quinn Spooner / Aggie. The Susan B. Anthony Administration Center of the Davis Joint Unified School District. Schools within the Davis Joint Unified School District shut down on March 19 but will still be providing students with food.

Local district one of many districts shut down across country due to COVID-19

On March 18, 2020, Superintendent John Bowes announced that the Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD), school and district offices would be shutting down and remain closed for the time being. Despite the shutdown of schools in the district, however, meals will continue to be offered to students aged 18 and under, regardless of whether they are a student in DJUSD or not, from March 16 to April 3. 

The meals will consist of breakfast and lunch, specifically “lunch for the current day and breakfast for the next morning,” in the form of Grab-and-Go meals, according to the DJUSD Student Nutrition Services webpage. The meals will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays and can be picked up from one of the following locations: Montgomery Elementary, Harper Junior High, Patwin Elementary and the parking lot behind the All Student Centre at Davis Senior High School on Oak Avenue. 

Families of the students will also be able to pick up the meal packages, as no form of identification is required. 

“The meal [count] is growing daily, from 100 plus on Monday to 479 today,” said Bruce Colby, the chief business and operations officer in a DJUSD meeting held on March 19.

Furthermore, as schools around the world shut down, the way in which various schools educate students will be affected. As of March 23, Approximately 1.38 billion students worldwide have been impacted by school closures — or approximately 80% of the world’s students — according to a chart from UNESCO that was published in a World Economic Forum article. Additionally, more than 138 governments have ordered schools and universities to shut down on a country-wide basis. 

In a message to the DJUSD community on March 18, Superintendent John Bowes said DJUSD will be implementing two phases in order to continue supporting students while the schools are shut down. Phase 1 will last until April 12 and will involve providing “supplementary materials and resources for students and families to voluntarily access at home.” The materials will be available on the DJUSD website. 

If schools are still closed after April 12, Phase 2 will be implemented. 

“This phase will focus on continuity of learning and will require planning and implementation by teachers and the use of a virtual platform in order to facilitate remote learning,” Bowes said in the message. “We will begin preparation and training for Phase 2 in the coming weeks.”

Phase 2 will focus on Distance Learning, “a system by which students and teachers who are located in different locations can continue instruction and learning using a variety of methods.”

In addition, the DJUSD Board of Education recently held a meeting on March 19, during which one of the topics discussed was COVID-19. 

“I’ve been working primarily to coordinate closure activities,” Deputy Superintendent Matt Best said at the meeting. “Closing down a district with more than 1,000 employees across 20 [some] locations is challenging to say the least. And I’ve been primarily working to make sure this action happens as cohesively and quickly as possible.”

DJUSD will also continue to support students in a variety of ways, such as by following up with students who are “medically fragile” and students who are vulnerable, as well as creating web pages that contain activities and resources for students. Additionally, Chromebooks will be offered to students who may not have access to the internet or a computer to participate in Distance Learning.

“We will have a drive-up station set up at Harper Junior High, Montgomery Elementary and Patwin Elementary during the meal disbursement windows in the coming week,” said Marcia Bernard, a chief technology officer. “A parent may come, sign out a Chromebook and charger, along with instruction for getting free access to internet, if they do not have it at home.”

Ultimately, DJUSD will help to support students and continue their education amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“Let’s continue to stay connected as we adapt and navigate the coming weeks and months ahead,” Bowes wrote in his message to the DJUSD community, 

Written by: Shraddha Jhingan — city@theaggie.org