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Wausau School District preparing transportation, school lunches for students returning March 1

Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 5:55 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - During discussions for bringing secondary students from a cohort style schedule to allowing all students to be in-person, the Wausau School District had to answer some important questions. Two of which were: Will the District be able to adjust lunch orders for the returning students, and what will bus transportation look like?

First Student in Wausau has been the bus service for the Wausau School District throughout the pandemic. Right now, schools average less than half of the capacity than can be allowed with COVID-19 regulations. The busses are expected to pick up more riders when all secondary students can return to in-person classes on March 1, but it is not expected to cause any major changes.

“At this time majority of our buses have less than 25 passengers. We’ll be able to make the shift safely to additional riders,” First Student Wausau location manager Andrew Edwards said.

“We’re not going to be at the capacity that we were at last year. We’re probably going to be at half capacity, maybe even less. We’re going to run the same routes that we’ve run, just more students are going to get on,” Wausau School District chief finance officer Bob Tess added.

Right now First Student services around 1,900 Wausau students, they expect a few hundred more on March 1.

School lunches were also a major discussion point for the district. The district currently serves around 850 students at their secondary schools.

The Wausau School District orders their meals about two weeks in advance. So when the call came that secondary students would have the chance to fully return in-person, the district doubled their order of meals since it would be faster than sending out a survey to parents. Starting on March 1, the district will be able to feed around 2,000 students. They were happy to have some extra time to make the adjustment.

“Grateful and thankful that we have this little bit of extra time that we can get to those in process orders and beef them up a little bit so we can offer a consistent menu across the district,” Wausau School District nutrition director Karen Fochs explained.

The district is expecting to keep the students lunch schedule as is for right now. But they might make changes to cafeterias and eating areas to have social distancing.

Lunches will also come pre-packaged so students will not have to interact with a server.

Families that opt for virtual learning can still get free meals for their children through the Wausau School District weekly. Five breakfast meals and five lunch meals can be collected every Monday at Horace Mann from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. or at Wausau West from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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