Topeka Public Schools adding new cafeteria health and safety rules ahead of school year

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Topeka Public Schools U.S.D. 501 School District is adjusting cafeteria and school lunch procedures for the new school year.

The district will start school online on September 9.

Chris Wagner is the child nutrition specialist for U.S.D. 501.

Wagner said students will be six feet apart in the lunch room.

Students will be wearing masks and will have markers on the floor while going through the lunch line.

Each table has only two or three chairs.

At Jardine Elementary School, Wagner said they had to expand the lunch room to make it work.

“Since COVID and we have to have our social distancing, we are now utilizing the gym,” Wagner said. “This way we can try to get more kids in here to be able to feed them to make sure the lunch period is not drug out.”

Traditionally each lunch period includes 200 to 250 students, which would not fit with social distancing guidelines in their usual space.

To accommodate social distancing a retractable wall has been opened up between the cafeteria and a gym.

Wagner said they are also looking at adding more lunch times to the schedule.

All cafeteria workers are required to wear masks, social distance and wash their hands every hour.

Wagner said they are also taking staff temperatures when they come to work and when they leave to go home.

Topeka Public Schools is starting school online on September 9.

District leaders said they are following guidelines provided by the Shawnee County Health Department.

There is currently no word on when the district could start offering school in-person.

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