The Pawhuska Public Schools grab-and-go meals program for students is anticipated to continue through June 19, Assistant Superintendent Beverly Moore said. The meals program is an element of PPS’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are no longer meeting for classes in school buildings, but are participating in distance learning.
Moore said federal authorities have made it easier for families to pick up meals for their children, by waiving a requirement that each child be present at the distribution point. A parent can now give his or her child’s name to school district staff members at the distribution point.
Pawhuska Public Schools uses three vans to transport meals Monday through Friday to drop points throughout the school district’s service area. District officials said the drop sites are: 1122 E. 13th; the Meadow Glen addition; Sunset and Bayliss; Skyline and Washington; Pearson Avenue, at the edge of the bridge; 9th and Prudom; 17th and Big Hill; the Skate Park on Lynn Avenue; West 5th, near the Pawhuska Tire & Services Center; St. Paul Avenue; the Stone Ridge Estates apartments; and in Nelagoney.
The school district distributes breakfast and lunch meals each week day, and families picking up lunch can also pick up the next morning’s breakfast at the same time.
Dean Hix, the district’s transportation director, said that vans leave the cafeteria at Pawhuska Elementary School, 1700 Lynn Avenue, at 7:45 a.m. for the breakfast run, and at 11:20 a.m. for the lunch run. Both Hix and Moore noted that people who live close to Pawhuska Elementary can go to the circle drive there and pick up meals.
Hix said there are some 235 children receiving meals along three routes — 80 on one route, 45 on another and 110 on a third.
“It’s growing and I expect it to continue to grow, with the unemployment rate as high as it is,” Hix said. He noted that in some families both parents are currently out of work because of the public health crisis.
Custodians and bus drivers deliver the meals to the drop points, and they enjoy the work, Hix said. It took a while for the youngsters to adjust to receiving meals from people wearing masks and gloves, he said.
Hix said it seems clear that the combination of the pandemic, the loss of jobs and the strangeness of sheltering at home has been taking a toll on people.
“The parents are worn out. The kids are ready to go back. It’s just a weird situation that the world is in right now,” he said.