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CNN frets ‘how kids will eat’ amid school closings; conservatives see silver-lining in mass home school

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CNN added its journalistic two cents to the coronavirus panic with a serious piece asking how children will eat if schools are closing due to the outbreak of the illness.

In a CNN report describing the effect of the pandemic on U.S. schools that provide “millions of students” free lunches every day, Arman Azad said the forced closings of schools to stem the spread of COVID-19 has parents asking “how will my child eat?”

(Image: NBC screenshot)

“If classes are canceled, figuring out how to provide those meals to students is a challenge, with a web of federal rules governing when and where students can receive food,” Azad wrote, noting that the US Department of Agriculture allows schools to use a summer meals program to deal with an emergency like the current coronavirus outbreak and then be reimbursed by the federal government.

“The catch, according to the School Nutrition Association, is that the meal distribution sites, including unused schools, must be located in areas where at least half of children come from low-income families,” Azad continued.

He went on to note how a school district in Washington state, which has cancelled in-person classes for up to two weeks, is making grab-and-go meals for pick up at different locations. A spokesperson for the New York City  Department of Education said they are “prepared to serve grab-and-go breakfast and lunch for any student who wants it” if schools are forced to close for more than 24 hours.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson Jackie Calzadilla emphasized that students would be “provided with the meals they have come to depend on,” and school districts in other states are preparing to feed any and all students who need meals in the event of cancelled classes, according to Azad.

But the CNN report, published ahead of President Donald Trump’s expected declaration of a national emergency, generated criticism and mockery over its implication that children could starve if the taxpayer-funded public schools are not open to feed them.

Bo Snerdley of the “Rush Limbaugh Show” tweeted his comments in reaction.

Some suggested that the government refund the cost of “free” public education to families who can use the funds for food.

Among the comments on the issue, there was a realization that closed schools and education continuing at home – via distance learning on computers or even homeschooling as an alternative – could be an unplanned benefit of the emergency decisions.

Conservative commentator and author Michelle Malkin noted the many benefits that could come from a homeschool education which would prove “disruptive to the Fed Ed borg.”

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh discussed the possible effects of distance learning on Thursday.

“What if it’s discovered that you don’t need to go half the places we’ve been going to get done what you do when you go there?” he wondered, responding to a caller question about fewer public school teachers needing to be hired with online learning.


(Source: Media Matters)

“But once the students stay at home, then the teachers union may lose control of the curriculum and everything else,” he added. “That could open the door to homeschooling, which teaches an entirely different curriculum than what you get in the public school system because you can’t tele-teach everybody.”

CNN’s latest addition to the fueling of panic over coronavirus prompted plenty of heated responses on Twitter.

Frieda Powers

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