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Minneapolis Public Schools changes course, will provide meals to Edison students during distance learning

The district had initially said meals would not be offered during the remote learning period.

When Minneapolis Public Schools announced an abrupt shift to distance learning for students at Edison Senior High, they included a small note about food. 

"Unfortunately, school meals will not be available during this time," the Tuesday announcement said, linking to a few food insecurity organizations that may be able to help.

A few Twitter users flagged this, wondering why the district couldn't provide them meals at home — something that is offered to all students whose families opted to enroll in online school

"Shouldn’t they be able to access the weekly food boxes that are available?" one Twitter user asked.

On Wednesday, the district reversed course, adding a brief update to the Edison High School distance learning announcement. Anyone who "would like an MPS food box to pick up or have delivered" can reach out to a specific contact, the update reads.

That afternoon, district Superintendent Ed Grraff addressed the change briefly, saying they worked with the culinary wellness team to provides families access to meals that can be picked up. He said more information about specifics would be going out to families that afternoon. 

At Edison Senior High, about 70% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch, according to state data.

Graff, when asked why the meals were initially not offered, called it a "challenge," adding the initial announcement was based on the information they had at that time.

But he credited the district's wellness team for quickly pulling together a plan that will allow students to get five days' worth of meals, similar to what was offered during the summer months.

"This particular offering of food is different from [prepackaged or on-site meals]," he said, "so it really does take some time to prep that."

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A district spokesperson Wednesday afternoon said the exact details were still being finalized, but that families would be contacted about meal pick-up.

Edison Senior High is fully remote until Oct. 6, at least, following a significant COVID-19 exposure. The school is listed on the state's COVID situation update website as having at least five confirmed cases recently. Graff said about 67% of the student population at Edison was determined to be in close contact with those who are infected.

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