Fernandez talks with kids about school lunches - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Fernandez talks with kids about school lunches

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 by Isa Baza

Guam - Department of Education superintendent Jon Fernandez had lunch with students this past week to hear their concerns about school lunches. Following a recent incident where Oceanview Middle School faced a shortage of food, Fernandez had lunch with students this past week at Tamuning Elementary School. He wanted to hear their concerns about school lunch.

Fernandez posted on KUAM's Facebook page over a week ago saying he would be gathering feedback from both parents and students. He said the feedback he's received since posting his comment was in the vein of "they felt assured it had the level of attention needed to resolve, not just the food services issue at Oceanview but anywhere in the district and I want to let them know that I personally go out to schools and visit with students on a regular basis."

In fact, that is what he did, sitting at the table with the students to hear their concerns. "So as part of that I get mixed opinions from different schools, some like pizza, some don't, some like the food in the morning, the breakfast, some don't like the lunch, some like the salad, some don't, you know it's just good to hear directly," he said. "The challenge with Oceanview was that it involved several miscommunications between the school administration and Sodexo that we need to monitor and ensure it doesn't happen again. What I'm assured of is it's the only issue we've seen of that magnitude," he said.

Because two trays of food were rejected at the school more than a week ago, Fernandez said it disturbed him to hear that students were only fed watermelon, fries, and bread for lunch. He was not made aware of the issue and said he is working to implement protocol that would prevent this situation from occurring in the future.

DOE will also be putting out a new contract for food services this year. Some priorities he wants to see addressed include reliability, nutrition, local produce, and tailoring meals to better reflect Guam's diverse culture. "Whether it's with this vendor or the next vendor, whoever they are, those are the issues I want to focus on, and I think it just takes listening to parents or listening to kids to make sure we hear from those who are really in the front lines of that issue," Fernandez stated.
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