In Clark County, the school district spends 6 to 8 months in advance planning school breakfast and lunch menus to make sure they meet government and nutritional guidelines.
The cafeteria manager at Baker Intermediate School, Diana Spicer, spends her day overseeing the breakfast and lunch items for more than 600 students, but recently her job has gotten tougher.
In the past few weeks, Clark County schools have had to increase oversight of school meals because of supply issues brought on by the pandemic.
Becky Lowry, the district’s nutrition director, explained, “We got in here and started ordering and it’s gotten worse and worse. We can’t get bread, hamburger patties, cereal; the most basic things we can’t get from our prime vendor.”
For Spicer, that means finding acceptable substitutes for menu items.
Spice added, “Right now in my freezer, what do I have for today. My main entrée for tomorrow, I didn’t get, so what do I have to substitute, what do we have, what can I fix.”
The district is getting some relief from an emergency procurement to get items as needed from other vendors. But for the cafeteria staff, even substitutions don’t make the task easier of meeting nutritional needs.
Spicer continued, “This morning the nurse called me asking about the carb count on the breakfast menu because it’s new and what’s for lunch and how much is the carb count for our diabetics.”
A permanent solution is still up in the air. The supply issues are also impacting items like plastic containers used for serving food.