By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the community in a variety of ways, forcing some businesses to close temporarily and leading many community members to enact self-quarantine and social distancing measures to remain safe through the pandemic. All public schools in the state are also closed due to a special order from the Oklahoma Stare Department of Education through the duration of the school year in May, leading school official to find a way to not only educate the students, but also provide food and nutrition to the kids. Newkirk Public Schools (NPS) has taken a lead in feeding the students and has now amended a temporary food and nutrition policy to keep both students and staff safe.
NPS previously unveiled a program to provide school breakfast and lunch meals to the students, beginning in March, to continue to provide both meals to students. Families in Newkirk could pick up those meals at the same time each week day at the east side of Newkirk Elementary School, with meals bused to rural students, including in Braman.
New rules have now been put in place due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state, including Kay County, to keep everybody safe and healthy.
Under the new rules, families can only pick up the meals three times a week, instead of five. Students will meet at the school Monday to get breakfast and lunch for both Monday and Tuesday. The students will meet again Wednesday to obtain the meals for that day alone, and receive Thursday and Friday’s meals Thursday morning.
The hours will remain 9 to 11 a.m. and follow the same Keystone menu used through the school year.
Staff members assisting with the program for the remainder of the school year are Leona Duncan, Robin Johnson, Tammy Hasselbring, Rita Neills, Pamela Brockbank, Sheila Patel, Tianna Tattershall, Paula Stanton, Linnae Colson, Patrick Costello, Jeanie Lawrence, Kristy Mills, Jim Mills, Ginny Engle, Melvina Aupperle, Chris DeBoard, Lori Mayden, Dennis Guinn, Molly Burgan and Marie Montgomery.
School officials have chosen these days to help lesson the spread of COVID-19.
“We’re following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control, but we also want to feed our kids, as well,” said NPS Superintendent Brady Barnes. “We’re limiting interaction to try and be safe.”