Schools struggle to safely get free meals to needy students

Schools
Houston Independent School District Nutrition Services employee Maria Cervatas carries packages of buns to be distributed Monday, April 6, 2020, in Houston. HISD relaunched their food distribution efforts throughout the district Monday, with a streamlined process that will implement increased safety measures. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

By JIM VERTUNO, CEDAR ATTANASIO AND JOHN MONE

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Schools that feed millions of children from low-income families across the U.S. promised to keep providing meals during the coronavirus pandemic. But cities big and small quickly ran into problems when food workers, teachers and volunteers became infected or were too scared to report for duty. Some districts have been forced to suspend their programs altogether. That’s left families who are already struggling more desperate. After a more than weeklong shutdown in Houston, schools in the nation’s fourth-largest city made changes to reduce risks. The district started giving out enough food to last for several days in fewer locations.