SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — School districts in Oakland and San Francisco will continue serving meals to students who would miss meals because of the school closures as a result of the coronavirus spread.

Friday both the Oakland Unified and San Francisco Unified School Districts announced meals would be handed out at select locations and campuses to all students who need them during the temporary closure of schools.

Twelve schools in Oakland will open for “grab and go” breakfast and lunch meals for students, who would also be able to pick up multiple days worth of food to take home, OUSD said.

The Oakland schools will be open Monday and Thursday between 8 a.m. and noon at the following schools:

Northwest/West Oakland: Sankofa Elementary, West Oakland Middle School, Hoover Elementary
Central Oakland: Oakland High School, Garfield Elementary
East Oakland: Bret Harte Middle School, Life Academy/United for Success, Coliseum College Preparatory Academy, Madison Park Upper, Fremont High School, Castlemont High School, Elmhurst United Middle School

The district said it would also be working with other community partners and local agencies to ensure that students have access to food throughout the school closure.

In Oakland, about 71 percent of the students, which is almost three out of every four students, are on free or reduced-price meals. All of these students are likely impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, hence the move by the school district.

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In San Francisco, SFUSD said the meal distribution would begin Tuesday with free breakfast and lunch to all children 18 and younger at eight pick-up sites across the city and six more sites to be added on Wednesday.

“We are committed to continuing to provide healthy meals for our students over the next several weeks while students are not in school,” SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said in a prepared statement. “We are grateful for the support we already receive to make this happen, and would appreciate additional support from the community to help us keep our students fed.”

A list of pick-up sites and schedules is available at sfusd.edu/schoolfood.

SFUSD also said it was also collaborating with the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank  about possibly co-locating food pantries at sites where students will receive free meals.

The district added it was working with city organizations to identify childcare options for families and that information would be shared soon.

Oakland children on Friday told KPIX what the free lunches were like. Fourth grader Israel Sanchez-Ortiz and his younger brother get free breakfast and lunch at Encompass Academy. He pointed out what he had for lunch: “Salad with ranch and a pasta.” He says a full stomach makes learning a little easier.

His mother, Yosdelhi Ortiz, said school work and food are her biggest concerns during the school closures.

“Very worry, because we don’t have any saved food. We need to go (to the store.) Like I said, it’s crazy,” said Ortiz. She went to many stores and found empty shelves. She plans to stock up on food this weekend.

“The lines are horrific at Costco. We couldn’t get in this morning,” said another OUSD parent, Alejandra Hernandez.

Ninth grader Jaimie Lopez said she’ll likely cook for her younger sister while her parents work during the school closure.

“It’s going to be difficult cause I have to do work and everything for school online. And then I have to see my sister and help out my mom,” said Lopez.

Oakland Unified has just under 37,000 students. Educators recognize the challenge. That’s why a district leader said students can pick up multiple days worth of food on Monday and Thursday instead of everyday.

“The big factor that we’re considering is social distancing and making sure we’re not having students interact and families interact over and over again over the week,” said Preston Thomas, the chief systems and services officer at OUSD.

KPIX 5’s Da Lin contributed to this report.

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