"It’s a little nerve-wracking": Lunchtime for students looks different amid COVID-19

Students will have to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before they eat, according to some schools’ reopening plans.

And while students are in line for food, they will be served pre-packaged meals in many cases. John Christenson, medical director of infection prevention at Riley Hospital for Children, said these meals minimize the risk of infection, because not a lot of people touch them. At buffets, on the other hand, too many people put their hands in the food. Some districts are not offering self-service items or only allowing limited self-service.

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Some schools are also limiting the number of options for meals. Zionsville Community Schools’ reopening plan, for example, says the schools will have a minimum of four cold lunch choices in August, which will be expanded “when appropriate.” And some school districts, including Sheridan Community Schools and Noblesville Schools, indicated in their reopening plans that meals will continue to be free or at a reduced cost for those who qualify.

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