Lunch staff explains limited options; Adjusting being back in the building

Grace Feldbush, Reporter

     Recent talk about school lunches has guided the lunch staff to explain the lack of choices at North Harford High School.  

     Sydney Huth, the area specialist for the food nutrition office, explains that schools in Harford County operates on USDA waivers for reimbursement purposes. This means they go through the state and the state determined the eligibility this year for free food.  

     “We like to have a variety for students, because every kid is different with what they like, but we are limited right now from schools being closed and reopened,” Huth states. She explains they have issues with staffing, speed of service, social distancing, getting the kids through lunch lines in time, which all goes into lunch options being limited this school year. 

     “Our suppliers were hurt badly from school shutdowns which makes it harder to get all the options we used to have,” Huth states. According to Huth, staffing has been a huge issue since a lot of workers have been too scared to come back in the building because of corona, many members have children at home to take care of, and some have gotten other jobs.  

     “In order to have the snack variety we have to have a cashier, and we do not have enough people to have a cashier,” Huth says. She explains they considered cash sales for snacks, but since that would involve changing gloves between every student, it would slow down the speed of service.  

     Food service worker Lisa McClure states, “Free food is approved through the school year of 2022 as of right now.”  

     Food and nutrition manager Earliene Klapka says, “Next year we would like to keep one line open for waters, chips, and extras so people can buy what they want. Students still get their first free meal, but we would like an option to buy.” 

     “We hope to have full snack and beverage options next year, but it all depends on the size of our staff, and our vendors,” Huth says. She says everyone on staff has been working nonstop to do the best they can for students.  

     The whole lunch staff are hoping things will improve over time to make lunches more enjoyable for students. “We normally have 13 to 15 people, but right now we have eight on staff. “Everyone is doing double the work because of the shortage, and we are working on getting new staff members in, but it takes time since a lot goes into being hired,” Huth says.  

     The lunch staff would like students to be patient as everything goes back to normal over time.