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Maintaining a Healthy Lunchroom
Maintaining a Healthy Lunchroom
Posted on 03/14/2020
Cafeteria professionals in Buncombe County Schools have been doubling down on sanitization efforts as concerns over coronavirus increase nationwide.By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

Nutrition staff regularly clean and disinfect surfaces in school cafeterias.Cafeteria professionals in Buncombe County Schools have been doubling down on sanitization efforts as concerns over coronavirus increase nationwide. As the largest food provider in Western North Carolina, BCS nutrition staff are well aware of their public health responsibility, and well-equipped to respond effectively.

“Fortunately, maintaining safe and clean spaces for cooking and eating is precisely what our management teams in every school are trained to do,” said Lisa Payne, BCS Director of School Nutrition. “We take our responsibility seriously and we know what to do because it’s what we do everyday.”

School cafeterias across the county maintain strict standards in the areas of surface, utensil, and kitchen sanitization, as well as food storage and serving temperatures. Every four to six months, schools are thoroughly inspected by Buncombe County’s Environmental Health Services, a division of the county’s Health and Human Services. Buncombe County's schools consistently score at or near the highest rating possible.

The North Buncombe nutrition team maintains a safe and sanitary kitchen.North Buncombe Middle School’s lunchroom was inspected two weeks ago and earned a perfect 100 score. The inspector checked refrigerator and food temperatures, the accuracy of all gauges, sanitizer effectiveness, equipment and surfaces, and more. What was found was encouraging.

“Everything was just perfect,” said Ms. Elaine Tweed, the school’s nutrition manager and a mother of two. “My staff and I do our best to treat these kids like we want our kids to be treated.”

As part of BCS’ coronavirus preparedness plan, staff have taken additional precautions. Throughout the day, staff have increased the frequency of sanitizing serving line and other lunchroom surfaces, and have introduced a new peroxide-based disinfectant that kills coronavirus. From the keypad where students enter their identification numbers to the handle on the milk cooler, Tweed said her team is diligent to identity and clean anything that visitors are touching.

School nutrition managers in all schools are also ServSafe certified, said Payne. The rigorous food safety certification is a standard of the restaurant industry and adds an additional level of education and professionalism to every lunchroom.

“We’re well-versed in keeping students germ-free,” added Payne, “And we’ll continue to monitor the coronavirus situation while communicating with the Buncombe County Health Department.”

Learn more about BCS Nutrition through these Frequently Asked Questions.

    Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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