First and foremost, thank you for all the work you do and your flexibility in how we worked through inspections this last fall/winter. Throughout the phone calls and in person site visits, we observed different methods of food service and answered a lot of questions about COVID safety precautions in relation to food safety.
In summary, there is currently no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food (CDC Food Safety and Coronavirus Disease 2019
). This means all food service, including school lunches, student stores and other meal services can return to operations as approved prior to the start of the pandemic. Refer to the current policies at your school for more specific guidance.
Here are some responses to frequently asked questions:
The School Health and Safety team does not regulate or enforce COVID safety protocols. With that in mind, note the correct use of cloth face coverings or masks helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. The School Health and Safety staff will continue to wear face coverings until we receive updated guidance. For kitchen staff, please follow the school district's current policies surrounding masking.
PHYSICAL DISTANCING & MEALTIME
At this time, CDC’s guidance remains to position students 6 feet apart while consuming foods and while moving through food service lines. For information on modifying mealtime school spaces to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 check out the CDC’s Modifying School Spaces During Mealtimes to Reduce Spread of COVID-19
. Please note that the School Health and Safety team do not regulate or enforce COVID safety protocols.
REUSABLE VERSES DISPOSABLES
Per the CDC, given very low risk of transmission from surfaces and shared objects, there is no need to limit food service approaches to single use items and packaged meals. Reusable service items (such as utensils, dishes and trays) are approved to be used. Proper washing, rinsing and sanitizing of the dishes and utensils is sufficient.
SERVICE LINES & SALAD BARS
At the school’s discretion, self-service lines and salad bars can be open with monitoring for the schools' physical distancing requirements, providing designated walking paths and by implementing previously approved procedures for food safety. If tongs or serving utensils are handled by the students, they should be switched out for clean ones in between lunch groups.
Milk dispensers can be used as previously approved. Follow the school’s guidance for physical distancing, providing designated walking paths and by implementing previously approved procedures for food safety.
The health department still approves and encourages the use of share tables. As always, the tables are to be monitored to ensure returned whole fruit with edible peels are washed prior to serving again. To review what is required for share tables, check out our share table guidance
SORT TABLES & COMPOSTING
The Clark County Green Schools program is available to help with school food waste reduction. If you need any sort tables or composting materials, or would like to reinstate a waste reduction program, please email email@example.com
for more information.