'Nutrition hubs’ to provide 375,000+ meals daily for NC children while school is out

'Nutrition hubs’ to provide 375,000+ meals daily for NC children while school is out
State officials have set up “nutrition hubs” where children across North Carolina can receive meals while schools are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Source: WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - State officials have set up “nutrition hubs” where children across North Carolina can receive meals while schools are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Over the weekend, Cooper ordered public K-12 schools in the state to close for at least two weeks. Thursday, after confirming the first case of community spread COVID-19 in the state, Cooper said students will "likely be out of school for a longer period of time.”

All 115 public school districts across the state have approved plans to feed children who are out of school.

More than 900 sites across the state will be providing 375,000 meals daily for children, both school-aged and non-school-aged. The meals are provided in part by the recently launched COVID-19 Education and Nutrition Working Group.

“We’re going to be out of schools for a while. The order was until March 30, but I think people know with community spread now coming and this crisis increasing that we will likely be out of school for a longer period of time,” Cooper said Thursday.

In addition to providing meals for children, schools are working on ways for children to learn remotely.

Saturday, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction announced it received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow schools and community organizations to provide food to students impacted by school closures.

Cooper said waivers have also been requested that would assist in feeding children whose daycare has closed.

Cooper says the outlook is unclear on how long schools will be closed. “We just don’t know how long at this point,” Cooper said.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in North Carolina is at 137, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Mecklenburg County reported 43 positive COVID-19 cases as of Friday, and confirmed community spread in the county.

Just last Friday, a week prior from the 137 positive COVID-19 cases in the state, figures from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services showed 15 cases across the state.

“This is an expected but still an unfortunate benchmark in this pandemic," Cooper said of the first community spread-related coronavirus case in the state, which was first in Wilson County. Mecklenburg County was the next county to confirm “community spread.

Community spread, state leaders say, is “where we don’t know how someone contracted COVID-19.”

COVID-19 TIMELINE

At least 38 North Carolina counties have positive coronavirus cases, including the counties of Wake, Forsyth, Johnston, Harnett, Chatham, Durham, Wayne, Craven, Onslow, Lincoln and Brunswick.

An order for North Carolina remains in place to keep mass gatherings to 100 people or less.

Gov. Roy Cooper issued and executive order Tuesday that closed bars and restaurants to dine-in customers. The order also unlocked unemployment benefits for those who lost, or lose, their job during the coronavirus outbreak.

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