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Libby schools develop plan for cafeteria staff

The Western News | November 13, 2020 7:00 AM

To bolster measures meant to keep classrooms open safely during the pandemic, Libby Public School administrators are rolling out a plan meant to safeguard a critical, but oft-overlooked branch of the district.

“I had a person ask me, ‘What is there to protect the kitchen staff? ...What happens if they all disappear?’” said Superintendent Ron Goodman at a Nov. 9 school board meeting. “That would not be good.”

In response, Goodman drafted a scheme he proudly dubbed the “to reduce the possibility of the total elimination of the kitchen staff” plan. The primary issue the proposal seeks to address is the congregation of kitchen staff in a single kitchen.

In the worst-case scenario, Goodman warned the entire staff would be quarantined were one member of the team to test positive for the coronavirus.

The remedy proposed in Goodman’s plan is to separate cafeteria workers between kitchens in the Libby Elementary School, Libby Middle High School and Asa Wood Elementary School buildings.

School board members wondered what the fallback option would be if the entire kitchen staff were to be quarantined despite the best efforts outlined in the plan,

“Would we go to emergency Pizza Hut?” asked Bgee Zimmerman, school board member.

Goodman said the district was prepared to give out cheese sandwhiches and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if a third of the kitchen staff were no longer able to work.

“[Those] would be very simple meals but it would be meals,” he said.

If health officials were to quarantine all kitchen staff, Goodman said schools would likely have to move to a fully remote schedule.