LEWISBURG — Tri-County North Superintendent Bill Derringer announced during a Board of Education meeting on Monday that the district’s entire cafeteria staff has been quarantined due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19.
“All of our cooks are quarantined through next Friday,” Derringer told the assembled board members and other staff. “That puts a tremendous burden on our district.”
Derringer stated he’d received the call from school district nurse Jennifer Griffy on Monday afternoon. The employee showing symptoms was given a rapid test by Griffy which came back positive, according to Derringer; the remainder of the cafeteria staff had been exposed while having lunch with the infected party.
Cafeteria staff wore masks and followed other safety procedures while serving lunch earlier in the day, Derringer said, thus minimizing the risk of exposure to students.
Derringer stated that breakfast and lunch would continue to be served on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, but that beginning on Thursday, April 22 students and staff will be expected to bring their own lunch to school.
“I know it’s putting a hardship on the parents, but we’ve been providing food to all of our students free of charge all year long,” Derringer said. “Now, unfortunately, we’re at a point where we’re not going to be able to provide that until we get our cafeteria staff back.”
Derringer stressed the importance of keeping students in the classroom despite this obvious setback.
“This happened at another school earlier this year, and they just closed their doors,’” Derringer said. “But I said months ago that if we have a situation where all our bus drivers were to get it, I’m going to ask our community to try to bring their kids into school as best they can, and if it happened to the cafeteria staff we were going to try to give them a couple days to go to the grocery, get food, and we would just ask for them to send in packed lunches.”
Derringer said he still hoped to finish out the 2020-21 school year without needing to have the entire student body go virtual.
“Just when you think we’ve got this beat, something new that we never even dreamed was going to happen, happens,” Derringer said.
Also during Monday’s meeting:
K-4 principal Joe Finkbine informed the board about a literacy event arranged by the Elementary School Culture Club. The event, which students participated in along with their parents, took place over the preceding weekend.
“They took pictures of themselves reading, going to the library, and doing things out in the community,” Finkbine said. “I was excited that the Culture Club came up with something unique for us to be able to do to try and increase literacy, and it was exciting to see the kids jumping into it and their parents buying into it as well.”
Tri-County North Board of Education meetings take place the third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m., and are streamed live over YouTube.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish