Schools provide meal service while closed

By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

With Gov. Tony Evers ordering all public and private schools to close last week, many children, locally and statewide, are at risk of not getting enough to eat.

The East Troy Community School District is helping with that. The School Board voted March 15 to close the schools effective March 16, but also voted to keep the food service running so the children in the area don’t go hungry.

“While we’re not required to provide meals with the state-ordered closure, it was recommended and it was one of the topics at the emergency meeting the School Board discussed,” School District Business Manager Kathy Zwirgzdas said. “We kept returning to the topic at the board meeting that we’re here for the kids and need to try to continue to be here for them as much as we can.”

The meals (breakfast and lunch) are free of charge to all children younger than 18, regardless of their free or reduced lunch status, Zwirgzdas said.

“During this time, the model we’re using is similar to the USDA recommendations for the summer program,” she added. “They’re going to get breakfast and lunch that families can pick up once a day.”

Pick up times are weekdays, either 6 to 8 a.m. or 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the meal program beginning this week. Families may still sign up for the meals by calling the district office at 262-642-6710.

“During those times, anyone using the program can pick up both breakfast and lunch, they don’t have to come back for each meal,” Zwirgzdas said. “They can choose a time that works for their family and receive two meals per child at that time and take them home.”

Zwirgzdas added that the district will work with families who might have an issue picking up the meals.

“We can make contact with people who can’t pick up the meals and try to resolve any barriers that may exist for that family. They should call us and let us know how we can help,” she said.

The district is asking parents to sign up for the program, which begins next week, so they know how many meals to make each day. Pick up is at the auditorium entrance to East Troy Middle School.

School closings

In a microcosm of what’s happening across the country, the East Troy School Board met for two emergency meetings when things began to change. The first meeting was March 13 to discuss the governor’s edict to close all the schools by March 18.

After that meeting, District Administrator Chris Hibner sent a letter home to parents in the district announcing the East Troy schools would close effective March 18 with classed resuming on April 14 after the district’s scheduled spring break.

By late afternoon March 15, the School Board met in another emergency meeting to discuss the rapidly changing situation with the COVID-19 coronavirus response.

After the meeting, Hibner sent out a new letter to parents that the schools would be closed effective March 16.

“We do not take the decision to close lightly and acknowledge that this decision may cause significant difficulties in these unprecedented times. However, the health and safety of our students and staff remains our highest priority,” Hibner said in an email to the newspaper.

The schools were open last week Monday so parents and students could pick up any items they would need.

The district started its virtual learning program March 23.

More information is available at the School District’s website at The district office can be reached at 262-642-6710.



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