How did Covid-19 affect Student Nutrition Programs?
During the period of school closures from March to September 2020, the TDSB's Student Nutrition Department worked tirelessly with our partners to provide students with access to healthy food and to address food insecurity. Working with the Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS), we provided grocery store gift cards to families through the Food for Kids program. We also worked closely with TFSS, Food Share, Second Harvest and Muslim Welfare Canada to provide food for families in need.
Health & Safety Protocols for Student Nutrition Programs
The TDSB takes direction from both the Ministry of Education and Toronto Public Health regarding nutrition programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following protocols were put in place to ensure the safety of students, staff and volunteers:
- Limit the number of visitors allowed in schools, including nutrition program volunteers;
- Staff and volunteers must wear face masks, sanitize their hands regularly, conduct a daily self pre-screen of symptoms, limit contact with students, and maintain physical distance;
- All food should be single served and individually packaged;
- Sanitize all surfaces regularly; and
- Close cafeterias to limit the congregating of students.
In addition, Toronto Public Health provided all student nutrition programs with sanitization protocols COVID-19 Guidance: Food Premises – City of Toronto.
Note: It is because of the additional Health & Safety protocols, such as the closing of all cafeterias, that many breakfast and lunch programs were temporarily closed. Morning meal and snack programs were permitted to run with all food eaten in the classroom or outdoors.
Supporting Virtual Learners
All Virtual School students whose home school had an existing funded nutrition program were sent grocery cards through the TFSS Food for Kids program.
COVID-19 Guidance for Student Nutrition Programs
Tips for Student Nutrition Programs: Food Safety and COVID-19