School Lunches During Covid

How school lunch is being handled and distributed amid the pandemic.


Photo by Cece Brisbois

Lunch lady serves bagged lunches for students.

Cece Brisbois, Staff Writer

  In today’s world, many people don’t stop and think about how students’ school lunches have changed due to the pandemic. Now lunches at Barnstable High School are handed out in brown paper bags for free. New and innovative ideas of transporting food have also come into play, and a change to the distribution of lunches also leaves a change in the food itself. 

           In an average lunch, students see a variety of protein from cheeseburgers, sandwiches, nachos or pizza. Each lunch includes fresh fruits and vegetables and milk. Salads and cold sandwiches are also available. A custom made lunch is ready for students with medically documented allergies. All lunches are now free grab and go. Dave Badot, the District Food and Nutritional Director said

      “With this grab and go program, it’s designed to be quick and efficient that focuses on student safety.”

Through a waiver under the USDA, the United States Department of Agriculture, the school is getting reimbursed from different funds to provide these lunches for all Barnstable students, according to Badot. 

 “As many don’t know, prior to Covid Barnstable School districts had almost 50 percent of our students qualify for free/reduced meals. We are seeing these numbers increase everyday due to covid….. Prior to covid, participation of these free and reduced students have been historically around 49 percent. Since we are 100 percent free this year, and with the several different schedules you really can’t compare apples to apples. Currently with the reduced attendance lunch participation is around 43.5% overall,”  Dave Badot also said. 

      “Barnstable is open to suggestions from students and constantly working to improve their meals, ” said Badot. Due to student requests, salads, sun butter, and jelly, have all been added to the menu and they are currently working on more hot meals options. 

Student opinions on the lunches do tend to vary. Max Olsen, a senior, said “ I think it’s pretty low quality, but probably the best they can do because of covid,” while sophomore, Garrett Sheehan, claimed that “The tacos and nachos are my favorite due to the taste and serving size.” 

Others though, like sophomore Abby Creedon, criticized their lack of vegetarian options by saying “ As a vegetarian for five years I feel excluded on the fact that I can’t eat most of the lunches offered.”

           A new development which is starting on Wednesdays will help feed countless students and families in our communities. For families that can’t reach sites where food is offered, a bus will travel around Barnstable to certain bus stops providing meals that will feed up to five family members per bag. An example of a meal will be a cooked roasted chicken with sides, and a pan of pancakes with cooking and safe handling directions for both meals. Milk will also be included. These student meals are available for pick up at the Centerville Plaza, Cromwell Court, and Village Green Apts every Wednesday morning. ( see flyer below for specific times and address ) With that, meals are also available at the school Monday through Friday to be picked up daily for one hour and extra meals are available on Friday to be taken home for over the weekend.