West Memphis students forced to find food elsewhere after school district cancels meal distribution

West Memphis students forced to find food elsewhere after school district cancels meal distribution

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Thousands of children who were being fed by the West Memphis School District will now have to get that food elsewhere.

“It’s a pretty tough decision when you know you’re feeding about 1,800 to 1,900 children a day,” said West Memphis Superintendent Jon Collins.

Collins is talking about the decision to cancel meal distribution in West Memphis.

For more than a month now, the school district had been feeding thousands of children daily after concerns over COVID-19 forced schools to close.

“We started out with 500 or 600 and it would double. As of the last two weeks, we were touching right at 1,900 children on a daily basis,” said Collins

Collins says the decision to cancel meal distribution came after an employee, who prepared food, tested positive for COVID-19.

The district was notified of the positive case Wednesday morning and immediately cancelled meal distribution.

“My kids are two and nine months old and if I didn’t have the type of stuff that I have to feed mine I think that would be broken hearted because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to feed them the next day or that night or that morning,” said West Memphis resident Tamanika Bass.

Forty-five food service workers with the school district are now self-quarantined out of an abundance of caution.

Collins says the district is working to find solutions and has reached out to a couple of local providers who were providing after school snacks and services.

“The utmost concern is going to be for the safety of our personnel involved and as well as the safety of our children that we’re trying to educate on a daily basis through this closure,” said Collins.

The West Memphis School district had planned to serve meals through May 22.

Superintendent Collins says he has no reason to fear any children or parents were exposed to the virus through this employee.

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