APS is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our staff and students throughout the entire school day. This includes during lunch, when students will not be able to wear masks while actively eating or drinking. We have developed a plan to protect student health and safety during meals, in accordance with CDC and VDH guidelines for schools.
Health and Safety Procedures
Every school will consistently implement the following health and safety measures during lunch:
- Masks are required in the cafeteria or other designated dining space when students are not actively eating or drinking.
- Masks must be worn, regardless of vaccination status, during arrival to the lunch area, as well as in the serving line and when finished eating or when departing or traveling within the dining space.
- Cafeteria or other dining spaces and frequently touched surfaces will be regularly and thoroughly cleaned by custodial staff between mealtimes.
- Students will be required to wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before and after eating. Time will be provided for hand-washing and sanitizer will be readily available for student use.
- Mealtime will be monitored to ensure adherence to the safety measures in place and to enforce distancing to the extent possible.
Discovery Dining Protocols
At Discovery, we are committed to providing both indoor and outdoor spaces for students to eat lunch, and to distance as much as possible while eating. APS has worked with the County to obtain additional structures to support year-round outdoor lunch, weather permitting. Discovery has upgraded outdoor dining areas with metal mesh tables and benches, with umbrellas in the front plaza and placement under the veranda overhang, to make sure our students are as comfortable outside as possible. Our PTA has also provided yoga mats for any student who is sitting on the ground and may want or need a pad at any time.
The following outlines our dining protocols.
Students will dine outside daily, weather permitting. This includes during the winter months when temperatures are above 32° Fahrenheit, exercising caution related to wind chill, precipitation or other factors. There are several factors that require consideration before a decision is made as to whether students are allowed to dine outside. These factors include but are not limited to temperature, wind chill, frozen ground, sunshine, heat index, humidity, and how prepared are the children (coats, hats, gloves/mittens) to maintain a comfortable and safe body temperature.
- All students are encouraged to have warm coats, gloves and hats in preparation for outside lunch and recess in colder weather.
- Students are asked to bring a towel or other item to sit on during lunch.
- Students will wash hands before and after meals and will distance while eating.
- Student meals will be monitored by staff to ensure adherence to health and safety protocols.