District: Memphis meal distribution to students will continue amid mayor’s stay-at-home order to stem spread of coronavirus

Meal distribution will continue for students during Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s order for residents to stay at home except for “what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs,” according to Shelby County Schools.

The mayor’s order came an hour into the first day of meal distribution on Monday for children who rely on school lunches while classes are canceled.

“Ensuring students do not go hungry is essential to learning, so we do not expect the YMCA partnership for meal distribution to be impacted,” said Jerica Phillips, a district spokeswoman.

The YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South took over food distribution from Shelby County Schools over the weekend after a nutrition services employee tested positive for the new coronavirus. The county has 84 confirmed cases of the disease caused by the virus, COVID-19, up from three a week ago.

Nashville’s mayor issued a “Safer at Home” order over the weekend, although it’s not clear how meal distributions will be affected. However, the order specifically allows restaurant deliveries, take-outs and curbside pickups. A similar stay-at-home order in Michigan earlier on Monday suspended student meal distribution in Detroit until the district could come up with an alternate plan. In South Carolina, school bus drivers are delivering meals to students at home.

The city posted a list of dos and don’ts to be followed during the two-week order, which goes into effect at 6 p.m. Tuesday.