UPDATE Assessment of Food Distribution by the City School District of New Rochelle in Response to 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

Written By: Robert Cox

NEW ROCHELLE, NY — This article is an update on what was intended as an internal CSDNR assessment prepared last week on food distribution. While the CSDNR Health Services Recommendations were acted upon and exceeded, the rest was ignored so a decision was made to go public. We informed CSDNR of our intent to publish Friday afternoon and published Sunday night.

The good news is that over the past two days since we went public, there has been notable improvement, especially at the two large community partner sites. A detailed description for each site follows.

Since Monday, CSDNR health services has been screening CSDNR workers in the morning — screening questions and a temperature check — before they report for duty, and nurses are touring food distribution locations to screen at community partner sites. Bilingual informational signage has been created but not widely implemented. Social distancing is being encouraged and clients are generally compliant.

The least improvement, ironically, has been at the CSDNR sites, with the exception of Christopher Columbus Elementary School.

New this week is centralized distribution of Chromebooks to middle school and high school students. While no food distribution is involved some of the same issues may apply so we have added Chromebook distribution to our assessment. The CSDNR employees distributing Chromebooks are being screened by CSDNR Health Services.

To read the entire original assessment with all previous updates visit:

Assessment of Food Distribution by the City School District of New Rochelle in Response to 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

Assessment Update by location based on our tour of all six food distribution locations on March 24:

95 Lincoln

From worst to first. There has been marked improved from last week to Tuesday at 95 Lincoln. We spoke with the Director on site today. While understandably unhappy with our assessment published Sunday night, the concerns identified in the assessment appear to have been taken to heart.

Workers who are compliant with being screened by school nurses, are wearing various sorts of masks (more surgical masks and dust masks rather than N95 respirators which have so far proved elusive).

The site is now solely focused on food distribution. No books, clothing, wrapped presents, hot dog trucks, ice cream trucks to be seen.

The food parcel exchanges occur on two tables set up to create 6 feet of distance between worker and client, there is a large bottle of hand sanitizer on the table, it is outside, closer to the public sidewalk, two lanes are marked with cones, plastic ribbons, and floor tape. There is bi-lingual signage on social distancing while on line and to stay away if symptomatic.

CSDNR security and nurses were on site during our visit. The clients are compliant with the new set up and requirements.

95 Lincoln is the new best model of a school food distribution location.

The New York National Guard was there the last two days. They are not compliant with the school nurse screening and they still do not have masks.

Trinity Elementary School

No improvements from last week were observed.

Workers who are compliant with being screened by school nurses, are wearing various sorts of masks (more surgical masks and dust masks rather than N95 respirators which have so far proved elusive). One worker was not wearing gloves.

The food parcel exchanges occur hand to hand without setting up two tables to create 6 feet of distance between worker and client. All food parcels are still placed “buffet style” on tables for grab-and-go but workers are still handing food parcels directly to clients while making close contact and hand-to-hand contact. One worker was on the client side of the table not practicing social distancing.

The drive-through nature of the site is significantly underutilized with clients still parking then walking up to the tables. There is no signage directing them otherwise nor are parking spaces blocked off. None of the signs created by CSDNR Health Services were displayed. There were no cones, rope lines or any effort to manage clients and keep them 6 feet apart or offer clients hand sanitizer before taking food parcels.

CSDNR security was on site during our visit. Nurses were not on site. The clients were compliant but only because nothing was asked of them.

345 Main

345 Main was significantly improved. Workers who are compliant with being screened by school nurses, are wearing surgical masks. The best improvement is the door is now blocked by two tables. The food parcel exchanges occur on two tables set up to create 6 feet of distance between worker and client. The workers were actually tossing the bags across the table. There was no hand sanitizer on the table. There are cones but no plastic ribbons, floor tape or bi-lingual signage on social distancing while on line and to stay away if symptomatic. CSDNR security and nurses were not on site during our visit. The clients are compliant with the new set up and requirements

570 Fifth Avenue

570 Fifth was the best last week but had slipped a bit when we arrived, in comparison to 95 Lincoln and 345 Main, but the site served to show the importance of a conscientious site manager and workers who are CSDNR employees and nurses.

Workers who are compliant with being screened by school nurses, are wearing various sorts of masks (more surgical masks and dust masks rather than N95 respirators which have so far proved elusive).

Food parcels were being distributed at the door instead of 50 feet from the door like last week. There was no signage, cones, rope lines or tape. This was explained by the site manager being home with a non-coronavirus illness and workers who were new to the site. Soon after we arrived two CSDNR nurses arrived to screen workers.

Before the nurses left, cones were set up, and the site was improved from last week.

Hand sanitizer was made available and a barrier was put up to keep people from the door.

The site still needs support: two tables so food parcels exchanges can occur on two tables set up to create 6 feet of distance between worker and client. They need 1-2 pop-up awnings to set up outside. They need bi-lingual signage on social distancing while on line and to stay away if symptomatic. They need to set up two lanes with cones, plastic ribbons, and floor tape.

CSDNR nurses were on site during our visit but not security. The clients are compliant with the new set up and requirements

Christopher Columbus Elementary School

Workers who are compliant with being screened by school nurses, are wearing various sorts of masks (more surgical masks and dust masks rather than N95 respirators which have so far proved elusive).

The food parcel exchanges occur hand to hand without setting up two tables set up to create 6 feet of distance between worker and client. All food parcels are still placed “buffet style” on tables for grab-and-go but workers are still handing food parcels directly to clients while making close contact and hand-to-hand contact. Two workers were on the client side of the table not practicing social distancing. The ADA issues were mitigated somewhat by the outdoor operation.

None of the signs created by CSDNR Health Services were displayed. There were cones and multiple lanes and some effort to manage clients and keep them 6 feet apart which was defeated by close contact upon arriving at the table with food parcels displayed “buffet style”. Tables were grouped into three sections. Clients were not offered hand sanitizer before taking food parcels.

Overall, a better set up but room for improvement.

CSDNR security were not on site during our visit. Nurses arrived on site as we arrived. The clients were compliant.

New Rochelle High School – House IV

Workers who are compliant with being screened by school nurses, are wearing various sorts of masks (more surgical masks and dust masks rather than N95 respirators which have so far proved elusive).

There were no changes from last week.

The were no clients during our visit but as there were no changes it appears food parcel exchanges still occur hand to hand without setting up two tables set up to create 6 feet of distance between worker and client. All food parcels are still placed “buffet style” on tables for grab-and-go but workers are still handing food parcels directly to clients while making close contact and hand-to-hand contact.

None of the signs created by CSDNR Health Services were displayed. There were no cones or multiple lanes or any effort to manage clients and keep them 6 feet apart. No hand sanitizer was visible so presumably clients were not offered hand sanitizer before taking food parcels.

CSDNR security and nurses were not on site during our visit.

New Rochelle High School – Teachers Lot

Door-to-door Chromebook distribution was ended last Friday due to push back from FUSE which objected to exposing its members to the public by home visits. Instead, the computers are being distributed from New Rochelle High School, from a doorway near the Teachers Parking Lot. While no food distribution is involved some of the same issues apply so we have added Chromebook distribution to our assessment. The CSDNR employees distributing Chromebooks are being screened by CSDNR Health Services.

The Chromebook exchanges occur without hand to hand to contact but also without setting up two tables set up to create 6 feet of distance between worker and client. There is a two step process which requires a client to enter, leave, then return. This “double-dipping” should be eliminated.

There are two lanes, cones, tape and directional signs but no bilingual signs prepared by Health Services.

The client enters to receive a form, a clipboard and a pen. They then step away, fill out the form, and return with the completed form. The worker then peels a barcode sticker off a Chromebook and applies the sticker to the form, then the Chromebook and an electrical cord are placed on a table by the worker which is then picked up by the client.

The doors are only partially opened so the clients must put their hands on the doors each time they enter and exit. No hand sanitizer was visible. Hard surfaces like doors and railings were not disinfected.

The lobby of the Whitney E. Young auditorium might serve as a better location.

CSDNR security and nurses were not on site during our visit.

END

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