Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do we run the Student Nutrition Program (SNP) during COVID-19?

Details on how to implement SNP programs during COVID-19 can be found in School Meal and Snack Programs during COVID-19 protocols. 

2. Does Porcupine Health Unit and Timiskaming Health Unit have the same Student Nutrition Program (SNP) protocol?

Yes. Porcupine and Timiskaming Health Unit share the same student nutrition protocol documents (please see: School Meal and Snack Programs during COVID-19). They are also actively collaborating to answer SNP related questions for the 2020-2021 school year to ensure consistent messaging throughout our districts.

3. If students forget their lunches or don’t have anything for lunch, can we prepare sandwiches for them? Can we buy bulk and prepare individual portions? (I.e. Soy butter, fruit, veg) 

Yes, you can prepare a meal or snack such as a sandwich for students. Prepare individual meal or snack portions in any one-time use, sealable container or bag. Food items can be purchased in bulk and divided into individual grab and go bags. Please ensure meals and snacks still follow the SNP guidelines for nutrition content.

Preparation of the meals and snacks must always be done in an approved/inspected area. The individual(s) preparing meals and snacks must adhere to the COVID-19 prevention
protocols, including masking/face covering, hand washing, physical distancing, self-screening before entering the school as well as limiting the number of staff and ensuring physical distance is maintained in approved/inspected food preparation areas. Visitors deemed non-essential are not allowed in schools.

4. Can we serve oranges and apples? Guidelines on pre-washed apples?

Yes. Fruits with “natural packaging,” such as whole oranges and bananas, are great options and do not need to be washed. 

Fruits with edible peel, such as apples, can be pre-washed by school staff, and then:

  1. Students can help themselves if apples are made available to each student in an individually wrapped, one time use, sealed bag/container.
  2. Or, if a food cart is going around class to class, the staff can distribute apples to each student using soft tongs. This would reduce plastic waste by avoiding individual packaging. 

The SNP guidelines include examples of grab and go vegetables and fruits as well as menu ideas (see chart below). For additional recipe and snack ideas visit the bright bites website for additional resources.

5. What can I do if my school doesn’t allow volunteers to come into the school to help with food preparation?

It is important during COVID-19 that our children are still able to have access to the nutritious food they need to succeed. If this requires additional help, we ask that any available staff in school help as much as they can with food preparation. If you have a staff in your school that requires Food Handlers certification, contact your local health unit to arrange for training. 

6. What to do if students don’t have their own reusable water bottle? 

As students are not able to drink directly from fountains due to COVID-19 precautions, students should be encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle from home. Students who do not bring a water bottle to school from home, should be supplied with one from their respective school, and labelled with their name on it to keep at school.