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?”
“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.
Okay- CNN is asking HOW WILL KIDS EAT – if schools are closed. Seriously. https://t.co/BAEeOV6oqa
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) March 12, 2020
Some suggested that the government refund the cost of “free” public education to families who can use the funds for food.
CNN: “Coronavirus is closing schools. How will kids eat?”
We spend $15,424 per child in government schools each year.
Give families that money back.
They’ll have plenty to feed their kids. pic.twitter.com/SfGOlrW3rv
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) March 12, 2020
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.”
We did it for 6 years. Homeschooling is the most enriching & challenging job you will ever have. Not everyone is cut out for it, parents or kids. But with passion, dedication & the right conditions, it is magical and transforming and disruptive to the Fed Ed borg. https://t.co/lkJLlc4HTb
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) March 13, 2020
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.
The article says “millions of students rely on school lunches”
Let people keep their money and they won’t need to depend on the government.
Families will probably be able to provide way better food than the government school cafeterias too.https://t.co/HRP9xtQwGH
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) March 12, 2020
The better question is why the hell are schools feeding peoples children?
— topjimmy (@topjimmy) March 12, 2020
@CNN @CNNPolitics @cnnbrk they will eat at home, like everyone else.
— Herman Huffman (@HuffmanHerman) March 12, 2020
WTF? How about you have kids, you feed them? If you can’t afford to feed some little ones, don’t have kids. It is NOT THE GOVERNMENT’S JOB to feed your kids, it’s yours!! ?♀️
— Status Unknown (@CAisCrazy) March 12, 2020
I’d say that can’t be a real headline, but I know I’d be wrong ?
— Huck Follywood (@AndrewWilday) March 13, 2020
If PARENTS have to take care of their own children, HOW WILL THEY MANAGE?!!!! The horror!
— Albert Frevele (@AlbertFrevele) March 12, 2020
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