Elementary schools from California to New York are forcing students to eat outdoors to protect them from COVID-19, despite falling temperatures in the Empire State and rainy weather on the west coast.
And now parents are proposing against the school districts imposing these social distancing rules.
Elementary school students in New York City had lunch at 39 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.
“This is where it gets a little ridiculous,” one MS 104 mother in Manhattan told the New York Post.
“They ate outside every day this week. It is cold.’
In Brooklyn, another mother of a Park Slope elementary school student said her child had been complaining about food since the school year began in late August with the temperature dropping constantly.
“We haven’t heard any plans to bring her inside anytime soon,” she told the Post.
“In fact, they still ask parents to give the school their Fresh Direct bags to make seat pads. It doesn’t sound like they’re going in. ‘
In New York, the Department of Education has allowed school principals to create their own lunch schedules for this school year.
While not every school in town forces students to eat outdoors, each school’s lunch schedule must adhere to social distancing rules, which means more students are eating their meals outdoors.
Children in milder California are also made to eat outside. And while there is less risk of frost, these teens have to cope with mushy lunches as they are forced to eat outside when it rains.
“My kid has his rain gear, he has his rain jacket,” said Tristan Leong, a parent of two in the Davis School District, California.
“Everyone scratched their heads somehow and said, wait a minute, there is no cover for them,” said Leong, according to ABC10.
Elementary schools from California to New York are forcing students to eat outdoors in the picture to protect them from COVID-19
Pictured: MS 104 in Manhattan, where elementary school students had lunch on Wednesday in 39-degree weather
Pictured: Elementary school students in New York City had their lunch on Wednesday in 39-degree weather
Leong brought the issue up with school board members Thursday night after receiving an email from his child’s headmaster last Monday saying that students are required to eat outside due to COVID-19 restrictions, adding, that they should have raincoats, warm jackets and even a change of clothes even when attending school.
“It’s completely common sense, it shouldn’t be political at all, it’s not a right or left problem, it’s just about letting children have normal lunch,” Leong said.
The Davis Joint Unified School District refused to comment on the matter on camera, according to ABC10, but the news agency received a statement that was sent to families across the district.
“In consultation with Yolo County’s Health Officer Dr Sisson, we believe that the health risk for students is greater if they eat unmasked indoors than if they eat outside under a covered area for short periods of time in inclement weather.”
Pictured: Elementary school students eat outdoors in accordance with social distancing rules
In New York City, parents said their children were only allowed to eat indoors this year when it was raining heavily
The health officer Dr. Aimee Sisson said that eating indoors, unmasked and unvaccinated, puts children at high risk of contracting COVID-19 considering the age group
“We’re adjusting our lunch schedule so that students can eat outside and under cover whenever possible and then go inside with face-covering for the remainder of the lunch break,” said the Davis Joint Unified School District statement.
In defense of the schools’ decisions to let students eat outside, Dr. Aimee Sisson, the Yolo County’s health officer, suggested that eating indoors while unmasked and unvaccinated would put students in a high-risk environment to deal with COVID-19, given the age group.
“We don’t want kids to sit outside in a downpour, so any outdoor lunch guide is really intended in a covered area,” said Dr. Sisson the point of sale.
“If it rains but there is, for example, an overhang where the students can eat outside and stay dry but may have to wear a jacket, I think that this is reasonable and very low compared to the risk of Covid transmission indoors is, “she says added.
However, parents like Leong still question the need to force young elementary school students to eat outdoors.
“They wonder if taking the mask off is the end of the world and only for 15 minutes, and just to have lunch, let them have lunch and then go outside and play and have some kind of normalcy,” said Leong.
While some of the schools have covered al fresco dining areas, those who don’t have a plan in case of bad weather have them, according to Kristin Conner of the Davis Joint Unified School District
Pictured: a covered outdoor dining area forcing elementary school students to eat in order to protect them from COVID-19 through social distancing regulations
Pictured: an email sent to elementary schools in Davis, California, where rain is predicted in the main states, “an added challenge to our lunch routine”
While some of the schools have covered outdoor dining areas, those who don’t have a contingency plan in case of bad weather have them, according to Kristin Conner, a spokeswoman for the Davis Joint Unified School District
“If it’s too rainy, cold, or windy, we’ll adjust lunch and break schedules and move smaller groups of students into the multipurpose rooms for socially distant lunch before returning to class,” Conor told ABC10.
Back in New York City, parents also said that this year their children were only allowed to eat indoors when it was raining heavily.
Meanwhile, the NYC Department of Education claimed Wednesday that students have the option to eat indoors if they wish, but parents said they have not yet put such accommodations into practice.
“We’ve never been told that before,” the Park Slope mother told the Post. ‘And nobody else I know has it either.’
“It’s hard enough for a young child to eat outside while wearing a mask on concrete,” said the mother of a fourth grader from Brooklyn who ate outside this week.
“How does the weather have to be to go inside? How deep does it have to go? ‘
On Wednesday, the NYC DOE said it would remind school administrators of its policy to allow parents to let their children eat indoors upon request, the Post said.
Children in the US ages five and older can now receive Pfizer’s two-dose COVID vaccine.
But many parents who have received their own vaccine are reluctant to get the same vaccination for their children.
CDC data shows that between the crisis last spring through November 24, only 731 children aged 18 and under have died of COVID.
COVID usually triggers much milder symptoms in young people – many show no symptoms at all.
Meanwhile, COVID vaccines, while generally very safe, pose a small risk of potentially fatal heart inflammation, especially in young boys.