Bayonne students receive free meals during virtual learning

The school district and Jersey Mike’s Subs will offer free meals to students throughout the week

The Bayonne School District Grab N' Go Meals are free to students during virtual learning.
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The Bayonne School District Grab N' Go Meals are free to students during virtual learning.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, students in Bayonne will continue to receive lunch and other meals.

The program is a combined effort between the school district and Jersey Mike’s Subs in Bayonne. Both meal options are free for students who live in Bayonne.

Currently, students in the city are receiving remote instruction through virtual learning as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in New Jersey.

The Bayonne school district announced it would close schools from March 13 until March 30 to prevent the further spread of germs. According to Superintendent of Schools John Niesz, students had the 13th off as teachers prepared for virtual learning to begin on March 16.

In an update, Niesz extended virtual learning to April 20 as the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies in the city.

One unintentional downside of virtual learning is the lack of breakfast and lunch for many students. As a result, the School District offered food to students starting on March 18.

On top of the school district’s food distributions, Jersey Mike’s Subs in Bayonne is pitching in to give students a bite to eat.

Free meals for kids

According to Jersey Mike’s Subs, Free Kids Meals was available at the Bayonne location starting on March 18.

The renowned submarine sandwich restaurant is proudly offering Free Kids Meals to all students from pre-K through grade 12.

The meals will be handed out Monday through Friday starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m at the Jersey Mike’s Subs at 901 Bayonne Crossing Way.

“We understand how challenging this time may be on our community as a whole, and it is our mission to continue to support as many people as we can during this time,” Jersey Mike’s Subs said in a statement.

This offer is valid only at this location. Residents are asked to use this offer only once per day so that Jersey Mike’s can feed as many students as possible.

Simultaneously, the Bayonne school district is distributing free meals to students across the city.

Grab n’ go weekly meals

The school district is currently distributing meals each week of virtual learning at community schools and Bayonne High School. The first distribution took place on March 18 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Each elementary school and Bayonne High School will have a meeting point for parents to pick up breakfast and lunch between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Pick-up for elementary schools will be at the school’s bus dropoff locations. BHS will have food pickup at the Korpi Ice Rink.

Parents are advised to try to send one family member only and to practice social distancing. Children are encouraged to stay home.

At the meal distribution, Bayonne Board of Education administrators, board members, and staff were present at each school handing out meals.

According to Superintendent Niesz, the food distribution to the community was a success, with approximately 5,000 meals picked up.

“Thank you to all of those who stopped by and helped with food distribution- amazing effort by an amazing community,” Niesz stated in a letter to the community. “These are certainly trying times for all of us and from the bottom of my heart I want everyone to know – as a Bayonne Team we will get through this difficult time.”

The weekly distribution provided three days of free meals for students until the next distribution day.

The next pickup date is Monday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 25.

A fluid situation

Neisz reiterated that the district will update the community as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

“As you all know, the COVID-19 pandemic is changing every day,” he said. “The Bayonne School District would like to keep our community apprised of any further changes to our school calendar as soon as possible.”

All students who have a district-issued Chromebook will receive free Internet service provided by Optimum throughout the period of virtual learning.

“We are committed to helping our community as much as we can,” Niesz continued.

Elementary school yards and Bayonne High School parking lots are open and available to Bayonne residents to park in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Later on March 18, after the first food distribution, Bayonne confirmed its first case of COVID-19.

Bayonne will continue to share information with residents on the city website at bayonnenj.org and on Mayor James Davis’s social media pages, as well as City of Bayonne and Bayonne Office of Emergency Management social media pages.

Davis has ordered the Mayor’s Office to remain open 24 hours and has installed two hotlines for residents to use in connection with COVID-19 issues. The General COVID-19 Hotline is 201-858-6705 and the Senior COVID-19 Hotline is 201-858-6105.

Residents of Bayonne can also sign up for the Swift911 Notification System in order to receive important messages online at bayonnenj.org by clicking the Swift911 Banner, or by downloading the Swift911 Public App to a mobile device.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.