By Democrat reporter

School catering is returning on a phased basis at West Dunbartonshire schools, with only packed lunches being provided for the initial restart period.

We apologise for the disruption to those who normally take a school meal but consider this the safest option for catering provision – both for staff working in the kitchens and dining halls and the pupils.

This decision takes account of the fact that many school kitchens are small and would make social distancing extremely challenging for catering staff preparing meals. Further work is required to resolve this problem and allow for full catering teams to return to work.

The decision has therefore been taken to initially provide packed lunches in schools as this requires a smaller and safer numbers of employees in the kitchen areas. It will also help to deliver a more controllable and safer dining hall environment for the initial restart period – with pupils able to quickly receive meals and reduce interaction with staff. This reduced service is also more straightforward to deliver and so will be much more resilient to any unexpected developments related to Covid-19 in the coming weeks.

The packed lunches will include two options for pupils to choose from each day – either a sandwich type option or a single pot meal option such as tuna pasta/chicken salad/. These will be accompanied by a range of desserts such as yoghurt, fruit, home baking and ice cream milk.

A number of other local authorities in Scotland are taking a similar approach to West Dunbartonshire.

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