While schools are closed temporarily, students and families in Mountain View and Los Altos will still have access to free meals provided by the public school districts.
Food distribution to students is considered an "essential" activity and can continue to operate despite new restrictions placed on non-essential activity, travel and business under a new shelter-in-place order announced by Bay Area public health officials on Monday afternoon. Food can only be provided for pickup and it can not be eaten at the locations where it's provided, the order states.
Starting Wednesday, March 18, the Mountain View Whisman School District will be preparing lunches and breakfast for its students who receive free and reduced-price meals as well as students from the Los Altos School and the Mountain View Los Altos High School districts.
Students at the Mountain View Whisman and high school districts can pick up their meals at Gabriela Mistral Elementary School, 505 Escuela Ave. in Mountain View, between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. They won't be checking IDs and will offer the meals to children under 18 there every weekday until school reopens.
Students who receive free and reduced price meals in the Los Altos School District can pick up their meals starting Wednesday as well, drive-through style, at Egan Junior High School at 100 W. Portola Ave. in Los Altos between noon and 12:30 each day, according to district Superintendent Jeff Baier.
Palo Alto and East Palo Alto
In Palo Alto and East Palo Alto, the meals will be distributed in a drive-through model to reduce contact. Children must be present in order for the food to be provided, and each family is eligible for meals equal to the number of children in the car. Both districts are asking families to stay in their cars and to avoid congregating when picking up meals.
Students in Palo Alto Unified's Voluntary Transfer Program (VTP) who live in East Palo Alto can pick up meals at Ravenswood schools. Ravenswood is offering meals to any students in East Palo Alto, regardless of whether they attend district schools.
Ravenswood also will offer home delivery for families who cannot come to the schools. Those families can contact the district’s transportation department at 650-329-2800, ext. 60172.
The Ravenswood Education Foundation has launched an emergency fund to provide financial relief related to the school closures for families, teachers and staff. The district is working to identify needs for the funds, including food access and distribution; support with rent, bills and groceries for families; distance learning; and financial support for staff, particularly certificated, hourly employees. If emergency needs do not deplete the fund, donations will roll over to support district programs when school resumes.
Ravenswood is also looking for volunteers who speak Spanish and English to help teachers and families communicate during distance learning. Adults who are bilingual and available to be part of virtual conference calls with teachers and families can fill out this form.
Read more about Palo Alto and East Palo Alto's program here.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and Almanac here.