Parents of children going to school in New York City have told the New York Post that the students have "eaten outdoors every day this week," adding, "it’s cold," and noting that they haven’t heard when eating inside will be allowed again.
"It’s getting a little ridiculous at this point," said one parent, a mother of a child at MS 104 in Manhattan. "They’ve eaten outdoors every day this week. It’s cold."
According to the Department of Education, school principles are allowed to decide whether or not it’s safe for children to eat indoors due to COVID-19, and some schools in the city are holding lunch indoors, according to the Post.
"The problem is that there is no hard metric for when the kids can go inside," one parent told the newspaper. "It’s just up to the principal, whatever they decide goes. Hopefully we’re not out here in February."
The mother of a child at an elementary school in Park Slope said that "We’ve heard no plans to bring them inside anytime soon. In fact, they are still asking for parents to give the school their Fresh Direct bags to create seating pads. It doesn’t sound like they’re going in."
Another Brooklyn-based mother told the newspaper: "It’s already hard enough for a little kid to eat outside while sitting on concrete with a mask on. What does the weather have to be to go inside? How low does it have to go?"
The Post notes that the department insists that individual children do have the right to eat inside if they want, but some parents said that they were unaware of this.
"Schools and students always have the option to have their meals inside, including if there’s inclement weather like rain, high or low temperatures, high winds, and more," DOE spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon told the Post, noting that the department will remind school administrators of this policy. "Thanks to our amazing food service workers, schools can quickly pivot to serve lunch in a variety of formats and in various locations if needed."
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