Cincinnati Public Schools providing meals at school sites as classes move online

Cincinnati Public Schools CPS logo
Posted at 9:48 PM, Mar 16, 2020

Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.

CINCINNATI — E-learning for over 36,000 Cincinnati Public Schools students starts Tuesday, in accordance with Gov. Mike DeWine’s order to close campuses to curb the coronavirus pandemic.

“This isn’t something I thought I’d ever see or live through in my lifetime,” Superintendent Laura Mitchell said Monday night.

CPS rolled out their plan for students, sending home homework packets and Schoology, an online learning management service where parents can access information about posted schoolwork.

The system will also provide meals between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and they’re always looking for volunteers.

“Mondays and Wednesdays, children will receive two breakfast meals, and two lunch meals. And on Fridays, children will receive one breakfast meal. One lunch meal,” said Jessica Shelly, director of CPS Student Dining Services.

The individually-wrapped meals will be served at 24 school sites, using social distancing protocols to prevent the spread of viruses.

“We’ll have a pop up tent with six-foot tables that will be in the pop up tent that we’ll serve meals from,” Shelly said.

Six health centers will remain available to be used by the Cincinnati Health Department:

  • Academy of World Languages
  • Aiken
  • Mount Airy
  • River View East
  • Roberts Academy
  • Dater/West High

Per the governor’s order, the school system hopes to reopen classrooms on April 3, but officials also has a plan should closures last longer.

“Right now we’re planning to push out 100 meal kits at each site, and then we’ll adjust as we need," Shelly said. "We’re hoping we can feed as many students as possible, but right now we’re making sure we’re cautiously optimistic that we’re able to provide for these three weeks and into the future if necessary.”

District officials say it’s still too early to tell if closures will affect school testing and graduation.

For a list of places kids can get lunches while schools are closed, click here.

Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:


  • Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
  • See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.


  • State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
  • See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.


  • SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail
  • See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.

What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms, but it can be spread even at asymptomatic stages.