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LA schools served 123 million meals during COVID shutdown

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Unified School District provided more than 123 million meals to students and community members in a program set up quickly when the coronavirus pandemic closed schools, the district said Monday.

The nation’s second-largest school district serves a significant low-income population and is normally a major source of students’ nutrition so when the pandemic arrived officials set up school-based “grab and go” food centers for anyone, no questions asked.

More than 93 million meals went to children and almost 30 million went to adults, the district said. It also distributed 30 million items of needed supplies.

The district began a phased reopening of schools last week and the emergency food centers shut down April 16.

Students will continue to receive meals every weekday at any school, whether they are attending classes in-person or online.

The initial reopening involves younger grades but will extend through high schools by the end of the month.

The reopening began after a massive upgrade of air filtration systems, implementation of sanitizing and distancing protocols, and creation of a system in which all students and staff undergo weekly testing starting before they return to campuses.

Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a Monday briefing that over the last two weeks 72 employees and 105 students tested positive for COVID-19 before their school opened.

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