The Maryland Department of Education refused to say how it will aid children no longer receiving free school meals due to coronavirus cancellations.
As schools across the United States close out of fears of the pandemic, thousands of children will be bereft of their usual school meals. Statistics from the Maryland Department of Education show that there are 332,774 children approved for free meals within the state, and 54,638 children approved for reduced-price meals.
Thee Daily Caller News Foundation requested information on the Maryland Department of Education’s plan for students who will not be receiving meals due to the cancellations in upcoming weeks, after Dr. Karen Salmon, state superintendent of schools, ordered all public schools in Maryland to be closed through March 27.
“It is crucial that we take immediate measures to slow the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in school communities around the State,” Salmon said, according to a press release. (RELATED: At Least Six States Close Down All Public Schools)
Today I convened a call with county leaders to provide updates and guidance on the statewide response to COVID-19. We are going to continue working closely with all levels of government as we take a comprehensive, collaborative approach to this public health emergency. pic.twitter.com/HTq0OFXNCH
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) March 13, 2020
“During the time of school closure, all public school buildings and school buses should be cleaned and disinfected to prevent spread of the virus upon the return of students and staff to school.”
Spokeswoman Samantha Foley told the DCNF that “many local systems are providing locations for children who need meal assistance,” and advised the DCNF to reach out to these local systems for more information on what steps would be taken.
Foley also provided the DCNF with statistics on how many children receive meals for free from the state and a Maryland Summer Meals Site Search, but did not say how the Maryland Department of Education would aid these children. She later noted that the Summer Meals Site would be updated to “include sites that are open and currently serving meals at this time.”
“Please note we are in the beginning phases of this,” Foley told the DCNF. “There very well may be more systems put into place further down the road, but I cannot predict that as I do not predict the future, nor does anyone else.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the matter, but Baltimore schools superintendent Sonja Brookins Santelises said at a Friday morning press conference that Baltimore schools will schools will run eight different emergency food distribution sites across the city operating from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
These sites will offer up to three meals a day for students ages 18 and under as well as people participating in school programs who are over the age of 18 but have disabilities.
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