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Warren schools bag hot lunch plan

WARREN — The city school district is ending a program to provide hot lunches to students who arrived at any one of the Warren schools because it received a complaint from a resident concerning the students gathering in one place.

The school district last week announced it would provide hot lunches to students who could get to any of the district schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

School buildings include Warren G. Harding High School, 860 Elm Road NE; Lincoln PK-8 School, 2253 Atlantic St. NE; Jefferson PK-8 School, 1543 Tod Ave. SW; McGuffey PK-8 School, 3465 Tod Ave. NW; and Willard PK-8 School, 2020 Willard Ave. SE.

The district began providing lunches because many of the district’s students are on free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs. When Warren Schools closed last Friday under the direction of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Superintendent Steve Chiaro said the district’s first priority was to make sure those families that depend on the the district to feed their children would be provided meals during the day.

Chiaro, at the time, said it designed the program after the district’s successful summer feeding program.

“We received our first call today concerning students receiving a hot meal at the school and also consuming the meal at the school, despite practicing social distancing and adhering to all Centers for Disease Control guideline for mass gatherings,” a joint statement from Business Operations Executive Director John Lacy and Chiaro stated.

Lacy said he explained the food service operations to the caller, who seemed satisfied with what he was told.

“A review of the program and the community’s response led to the decision that grab-and-go lunches are more practical and the favored option of our students and their families,” according to Lacy.

On Tuesday, more than 600 students participated, and on Wednesday, more than 800 students participated in the program, according to district records.

Most other districts in the Mahoning Valley designed grab-and-go programs to feed their students during this period when the schools are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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