In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Upper Arlington Schools launched distance teaching and learning in March. At the same time, the district began providing grab & go lunch and breakfast 5 days a week for any and all children in our community. The number of children benefiting from this program was been between 150 - 200 per week.
In the spring, Superintendent, Dr. Paul Imhoff, asked the UA+Ed to take the lead to secure funding that would allow the district to seamlessly continue the lunch/breakfast program through the summer. He also anticipated additional funding needs related to the pandemic due to the loss of state funding announced in early May. The UA+Ed quickly reached out to partnering organizations including PTOs, the Columbus Foundation, UA Community Foundation, and UA Rotary Club. Individual donations were also welcomed.
Within a few weeks over $73,000 was secured to create a COVID-19 Crisis Fund, including a $25,000 grant from the Upper Arlington Education Foundation. "The grant from the UA+Ed came from both our unrestricted funds and 14 of our designated funds. Our donors care deeply about the health and wellbeing of our students. Every one of them was honored to help build this important fund," Alice Finley, UA+Ed Executive Director.
The summer lunch program provided grab and go lunches and breakfasts 5 days a week throughout the 12 weeks of summer break. Any child in Upper Arlington was welcome to a lunch, no questions asked. Some families came regularly, while others were more sporadic. The school district's nutritional services department and transportation department worked closely together to make meals easily accessible for pick up at all 5 of the elementary schools.
The 2020/21 school year has been a challenge and students and families continue to be affected by this crisis in one way or another. We are fortunate to live in a community that comes together individually and through organizations to support our schools.
Funding from the COVID-19 Crisis Fund has been available for meals for students and other COVID-19 Crisis related costs at the discretion of the district. Examples might include (but are not limited to) safety supplies and equipment, wellness/mental health programs, educational resources, etc.