It won’t be apparent with spring break on this week, but Wallowa County schools will continue providing free breakfasts and lunches to their students Monday, March 30, when school would normally resume.
But it won’t resume since, by Gov. Kate Brown’s order, all schools are closed at least through April 28 as a measure to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Lance Homan, superintendent at Joseph Charter School, said schools would be able to apply to the state for reimbursement for meals provided to students who would normally pay.
Enterprise students can pick up breakfasts and lunches outside the school cafeteria from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Joseph Charter School can pick up meals from 11 a.m. to noon at the school cafeteria and from noon to 1 p.m. at the Little League field in Enterprise. JCS has a number of students who live in Enterprise.
Wallowa students can pick up meals outside the school cafeteria from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and at the South Fork Grange in Lostine from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
A spokeswoman at Wallowa said there will be some extra meals for those who may need them.
Pam Stitzel, Wallowa School secretary, said families are being asked to come into the cafeteria one at a time to reduce congestion and possible transmission of COVID-19.
The meals are being handed out for free, regardless of whether students qualified for the free/reduced price meal program, school officials said.
At all the schools, plans are still being developed for continuing instruction for students who aren’t allowed to attend class.
Enterprise Superintendent Erika Pinkerton said she’s had meetings with other district superintendents and teachers and is in contact with state officials, but little had been resolved as of Friday, March 20.
In Troy, with a student body of just three, things are a bit different. There, with no commercial-grade kitchen, the students regularly bring meals from home, teacher Fred Byers said.
“The numbers are not the important thing as much as making sure people are apart,” he said. “Occasionally we shoot a turkey and bring it in, but don’t cook it,” Byers joked.
As for continuing their education, Byers has sent home homework with the kids on a thumb drive that also includes videos of him teaching. It also includes his telephone number they can call with questions. The thumb drive is preferred in Troy because of limited internet access there.
He said he’s not sure when the school will reopen and that there may be guidelines for a school as small as Troy’s that differ from regular schools.
“If we can keep them far apart — 6 feet or more — we could reopen,” Byers said. “But we’d have to get the OK from the state Department of Education.”