USD475 Food Service & Operations Continues to Meet Needs

Last week, the Kansas State Department of Education authorized school districts, whenever possible, to provide assistance to licensed childcare centers. Childcare is deemed by the State to be a critical service by allowing parents who are doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, grocery store staff and other essential personnel to provide services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

USD475 published notice of it’s intent to help these facilities on Easter Sunday, and has commenced providing meals to nine centers as of Wednesday, April 15th.

Shelly Gunderson, Director of Child Nutrition reports that the daily number of meals being prepared by the Central Kitchen is now 2,800 which includes service to the nine childcare sites.

“This remains a stressful program but Mrs Alisa Phillips of ‘Mommy’s Lil Monkey’ daycare has taken the initiative to be a central point of contact for area childcare providers. Her coordination efforts are appreciated and free me up to focus on managing the central kitchen,” Gunderson added.

Also working with Gunderson is Kaye Fisher, District Transportation Coordinator. Fisher is coordinating transportation of meals through local Ministerial Alliance volunteers as well as B&B Busing. Fisher is in contact with childcare centers to determine need for cleaning supplies. The District expects to distribute disinfectant, hand sanitizer, and limited paper products to childcare centers by the end of this week.

David Wild, Chief Operations Officer, reports daily coordination between Operations departments are ongoing. Food Service, Transportation, Emergency Management, Operations (purchasing, print plant, and warehousing), and Facilities Management.

Wild notes that Kurt Hauschild, ABM Regional Manager and provider of District custodial and maintenance services, as well as David Wert, of Cenergistic Energy Management, participate in the daily online work huddles.

ABM is sanitizing district food distribution sites daily, conducting daily walk-throughs of each building across the district, and is preparing to supply childcare centers with disinfectant. Wert is likewise auditing buildings with walk-throughs and manages all requests for building occupancy needs.

“I received a text message from Kurt late one evening two Friday’s ago. During a building walk-through, his maintenance crew discovered a broken water valve in one of our grade schools. Repair and cleanup was completed by midnight. Without the ABM team doing its building audit, that water leak would have likely gone unnoticed over the weekend resulting in significant damages,” Wild added.

District challenges during the pandemic crisis are being met on both the Operations and Teaching & Learning sides with renewed emphasis on collaboration and teamwork. The USD 475 team is dedicated to supporting the Geary County communities during this crisis, and continues to find creative and innovative ways to provide that support.