Indoor dining during the pandemic is widely recognized as a high risk activity. The CDC, Dr. Fauci, epidemiologists, experts and the Arlington School Health Advisory Board all recommend that schools hold meals outdoors. Yet, APS has only “encouraged,” but not required, outdoor dining in its schools, leaving this critical safety measure to the discretion of principals. And APS has provided no equipment to schools for outdoor dining at all.
The result: Some students are forced to eat in poorly ventilated school cafeterias with more than 100 unmasked students. Other schools are getting some students outside for lunch (but not breakfast) and only on some days. No APS school is holding safe dining on all school days.
APS needs to REQUIRE ALL schools to provide safe dining to ALL students EVERY day for lunch, breakfast and snacks. APS needs to utilize all federal, state and county funding and assistance to provide equipment to schools (tents, tables, mats, chairs etc.) so meals can be held outside in variable weather.
APS needs to provide backup safe indoor dining in properly ventilated spaces – by opening windows or installing upper room germicidal UV fixtures or additional HEPA filters – when using indoor spaces is unavoidable (unsafe weather, for children with outdoor allergies, etc.)
Students in APS need safe dining every day so they can access in-person instruction safely. Please sign this petition to help make this happen.
IN THE NEWS: Outdoor Lunch Needed At All Arlington Schools: Petition, coverage in Patch / Arlington, VA