ASHLAND -- Since closing its doors last week due to Gov. DeWine's order relating to COVID-19, the Dale-Roy School has delivered weekly batches of breakfast and lunches to its students across Ashland County.
To continue meal service to a portion of its 35 students with developmental disabilities, the Ashland school has delivered ten meals (five breakfasts and five lunches), which are often specialized based upon dietary or other eating restrictions.
When the school shutdown was announced, calls were made to each student’s home to see if the family would like to continue receiving meals for their child, said Bruce Kramer, the Director of Community Relations and Medicaid Management for the Ashland County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The board operates the Dale-Roy School at 1256 Center Street in Ashland.
Seventeen families -- or about half of the student enrollment -- welcomed the offer.
Director of Food Service, Peggy Bachmann wasted little time putting together a menu and a plan. She reviewed her inventory and made preparations to provide five days of breakfast and lunch meals that could be delivered to homes once a week.
French toast strips, waffles, fruit cups, sandwiches, snack bars and drink are some of the items included in the delivery packs. Many of the items are delivered frozen and can be reheated by families each day. Some meals require special preparation due to a student’s needs.
Delivery of the meal packs is performed by Dale-Roy bus drivers and aides. Two teams of drivers and aides take turns each week making runs.
Unlike most school districts, Dale-Roy serves students from the entire county. These delivery teams cover many miles from as far south to Loudonville up to the northern townships in Ashland County.
"Unlike most schools, the Dale-Roy Program serves all of Ashland County. It'd be difficult for some families to come get it picked up, so we send a week's worth in one delivery," Kramer said.
Now in its second week, he believes the system is working well for the school. To promote safe contacts, calls are made ahead to families and meal packs left at the door.
The school is currently working to ensure it can continually access food for its students. The school had an inventory of food it was able to pull from in its first week, but must order more food, especially more pre-packaged, one-person options for the coming weeks.
“We hope to continue delivering these meals as long as we are able,” Superintendent of the Ashland County Board of Developmental Disabilities Dave Ashley said. “We want to continue to support our individuals and their families during this uncertain time.”
Kramer explained that the school should be reimbursed for a portion of the cost, and the board will cover the remaining cost of the meal service.