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NPS drops school bus food delivery, families must pick up meals

Norwalk Public Schools is “postponing” further meal deliveries via school bus beginning Monday, it said in an announcement made at 5 p.m. Sunday.

NORWALK, Conn. — School bus meal delivery to bus stops, as well as door-to-door meal deliveries for Special Education students, has abruptly been suspended.

“As Norwalk enters what we believe could be the peak phase of the COVID-19 coronavirus spread, Norwalk Public Schools will need to take the difficult step of modifying our food distribution model,” NPS said in a Sunday announcement. Families will instead have to pick up meals at one of 10 food centers, from noon to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

The number of positive COVID-19 tests in Norwalk has spiked, a 60 percent increase from Saturday to Sunday. Norwalk leads Connecticut for positive tests. It attained that status Friday.

The NPS announcement was greeted with a rumor that the change was due to a food worker contracting COVID-19. NPS denied that.

“{P}eople with coronavirus or anyone with possible symptoms will NOT be distributing food. The health of both our staff and our families has been the top priority in every decision over the past few weeks as the situation in Norwalk and Fairfield County has developed,” NPS said in a Facebook post.

NPS continued, “We have been in daily touch with the Norwalk Health Department since the public health crisis began and follow all their advice to the letter. The new distribution method for tomorrow is meant to meet the need for meals at this difficult time, in a responsible way for everyone involved.”

Replies highlighted issues separate from fears of the contagious disease spreading.

“There is no way for some folks to get to the distribution sites, I have seen people flat out lie to get meals and that ruined this as well. So the ones who have no vehicles and no means outside of risking taking a bus to a distribution site can be exposed. This is not NPS or the buses fault, I blame those who went claiming meals despite not even having kids or their kids go to a different school and they collected off other stops instead,” one person wrote. “I know who takes my kids bus and I also know and have witnessed folks collecting from other stops, so from a parent on disability who has no car , I hope they feel proud of themselves.”

“People were not keeping their distance unfortunately at the bus stops,” another person said.

“Now people have to congregate, sort of defeats the purpose, some folks followed the rules and now can get nothing because of other folks not following the rules,” the first person replied.

“The sad part of this, is {that} a lot of the ones that really need the lunches will not be able to get to the locations,” another person wrote.

“This actually makes very little sense in terms of controlling exposure to the coronavirus,” came a reply on the NPS announcement of the switch.

The meals will be available at:

  • Brien McMahon High School
  • Jefferson Elementary School
  • Kendall Elementary School
  • Marvin Elementary School
  • Ponus Ridge Middle School
  • Nathan Hale Middle School
  • Tracey Magnet School
  • Ben Franklin Community Center
  • Carver Community Center
  • Nathaniel Ely Center (Maritime Odyssey Preschool)

 

“This truly hurts South Norwalk because Columbus is more central than Ben Franklin and the Maritime Odyssey,” one person wrote.

“You are providing an incredible service and you seemed to be doing it in a really efficient and family-friendly way, it seems like this way is not entirely thought out,” another said.

NPS states that families will have the option to “drive through” or walk up to get their meals at one of the locations. “For the health and safety of both families and staff, we will require that everyone maintain ‘social distancing,’ meaning 6 feet of physical space between you and a non-family member. Crossing guards and security guards will be available to assist.”

14 comments

Mkm March 30, 2020 at 7:13 am

The parents and this students consistently grouped together at bus stops not distancing themselves. I saw it daily. I frankly was worried for bus workers. Norwalk tried to do a great thing parents and students defeated it

Karen March 30, 2020 at 8:17 am

So sad, I put alot of the blame on the dishonesty of the adults and or parents of NPS children. There’s a bible scripture that clearly states, “what so ever you sow that so shall you reap” Galatians 6:7. Now the honest and truly needy without transportation and some parents have special needs children, will suffer.

Eleanor LX March 30, 2020 at 11:14 am

Since when has the school system been in the food delivery business? Are parents incapable for providing for their own children? This has truly become a welfare municipality. Further, are the free groceries via food stamps for these families not enough?

Karen March 30, 2020 at 2:55 pm

To EleanorLX, not all low income households receive food stamps to supplement their food budget. Many, many heads of the household are out of work due to this global pandemic, WITH NO INCOME to depend on. Should their children starve? Blessed are those who bless others. Thank you Norwalk!!! I applaud your compassionate efforts.

Justataxpayer March 30, 2020 at 4:46 pm

Hmmmm, what type of parents would fake to get a free meal? It’s funny how the people who cheat are either hollywood elites trying to get their kids into college or good god fearing, tax paying folks. SMH

Elizabeth Gibbs March 30, 2020 at 5:13 pm

Eleanor LX, a caring municipality not a welfare municipality. Get your priorities straight.

Eleanor LX March 30, 2020 at 7:46 pm

Please – the freeloading began way before the pandemic. A caring municipality would rely on the kindness of donations and community support not squeeze taxpayers to the extent that their means are being sacrifices – I have donated my fair share, have you?

Reverend S March 30, 2020 at 8:17 pm

For all those who truly need help, help on. No one should go hungry. For all others,

“Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. … ”

Thessalonians 3:6-15

Mitch Adis March 30, 2020 at 9:51 pm

Can NPS get the teachers to teach while they are getting paid to stay home? I spoke to students who said their teachers are not showing up and are only leaving assignments for them to do on their own. NOT GOOD

Homeschooling grandma March 30, 2020 at 10:03 pm

I think the program is wonderful , I was picking up the meals for my 3 grandchildren. (They attend two different schools). Today I went to Nathan Hale. They would NOT. Let me do a drive thru. I had my 3 grandchildren with me and was told very Rudely that I had to move my car and park in the lot. I was not going to park that far away to 1. Leave my grandchildren in the car nor take all 3 out to expose them I told them forget it I’ll go to Marvin. Well after an hour waiting at Marvin. No Bus. No one showed up. I took the children to Jefferson. Very nice. Very efficient. Drive thru. Most courteous. & pleasant. I’m sorry the bus system didn’t work out. And that others can’t follow the rules. And someone needs to explain the “ DRIVE THRU” Rules to those who are working at Nathan hale. No need to Be rude. Aren’t we all going through enough already.

Frank cash March 31, 2020 at 12:04 am

I find it funny that 75% of the people picking up food are driving brand new cars ( bmws, Mercedes, etc). Glad Norwalk is picking up the bills when times are tight.

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