As COVID-19 cases continue to rise on campus, more students have been instructed to quarantine either on or off campus by the contact tracing program if they test positive or come in prolonged contact with an individual who has reported testing positive for COVID-19. NC State Dining has been delivering meals to students who were staying in on campus isolation.
Lesley Schatz, food service supervisor for dining and catering operations, talked about the safety protocols the team follows while delivering meals.
“We have standard safety protocols in place for how we deliver meals,” Schatz said. “Our teammates, in masks and the appropriate PPE [personal protective equipment] will knock on the student’s door where they’re in their assigned quarantine housing.”
According to Schatz, student meals are delivered between noon and 2 p.m., covering lunch and dinner in order to further minimize contact. Students who arrive at isolation units after the lunch delivery will have their meals delivered between 5-7 p.m. Upon arrival, students are also provided a meal kit that provides breakfast and snack options for two to three days. Any delays in delivery will be announced by NC State Dining via email.
“We give the students two attempts to answer the door after delivery and then, just to be safe, if they do not answer the door after two attempts, we will actually take the food back to our production kitchen for safe[keeping],” Schatz said. “We will reach out to them a few hours after the delivery has been done to ask if they’ve missed their delivery, to see if we need to try again or if they have been cleared by Student Health.”
Keith Smith, director of board operations, discussed how NC State Dining operates the meal deliveries.
“We have a catering team on campus right now—Rave! catering—that helps with coordination and delivery while we use the catering kitchen to produce the food right now,” Smith said. “Since we’re not as busy with events right now, that’s worked out well for us.”
According to Smith, students receive an initial email from University Housing asking if they have meal needs, and students can sign up for meal plans. When signing up, students can specify if they have any dietary restrictions prior to delivery. Students on meal plans—excluding the Block 170 and Commuter meal plans—do not have to pay additional fees for delivered meals. Students who are currently not enrolled in a meal plan or whose meal plan does not cover meal delivery can pay $15 a day, with dining dollars being an acceptable form of payment.
“I send out a head count, broken down by all of the dietary restrictions, to our team twice a day,” Schatz said. “A rough estimate the day before and a confirmation in the morning so that they can produce enough meals for all of our students, and then they produce it. If it’s a hot meal they chill it down safely and quickly and then package it up into a container labelled with the room number and dietary restrictions, and we also put any allergens of the meals on every ticket as a safety precaution.”
For more information, visit the NC State Dining website.