The announcement of heading back to school after months of school closures undoubtedly caused some anxiety for school staff, parents and students alike. The unknown can be unsettling, and breakfast program coordinators at the schools had to act quickly to ensure students would still receive the nutrition they need to succeed. Bedford Road Collegiate in Saskatoon, SK, shared how being flexible with their program model in these uncertain times has been key for their current program’s success.
Last year, their breakfast program was set up in a high-traffic area outside of the office near the school’s front entrance. Students would take breakfast from the breakfast station and then head to their classrooms. This model posed some challenges for the school this year, though, as they moved into a student-cohort model. Each cohort must use different doors to enter and exit the school, so they could no longer have breakfast in a single centralized space. Students and additional volunteers are also not allowed to serve food, posing a challenge for getting breakfasts ready and served to students each morning. Lastly, they were not able to serve food as openly as they did before and became limited to more single-serve type foods.
The solution for Bedford Road Collegiate was to start making individual breakfast bags for students and put them at all five of the cohort doors. The teachers already assigned to hallway supervision have been welcoming students into the school each morning and giving them their breakfast bags if they would like one. Because the school is not able to run their usual lunch canteen, the staff who typically runs the canteen has been helping to batch cook and prepare the breakfast bags for students instead. They are serving more individually packaged foods like yogurt, cheese, milk, fruits, cereals, and even homemade muffins and healthy breakfast cookies. One of their concerns when it started up again in September was not being sure how many bags to prepare each morning, but it seems the number of students accessing the breakfast program has not changed too drastically at this point.
Now that they have been doing things this way for a number of weeks, they have gotten into the groove and the program is running quite smoothly!