Five schools in District 51 are offering a limited lunch menu

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) – Like many other institutions across the country, School District 51 is currently dealing with staffing shortages. “We could have anywhere from ten to 20 positions that go unfilled every day, that’s how severe the staffing is,” Dan Sharp, D-51 Nutrition Services Director says.

One area being heavily impacted by the ongoing issue, is the cafeteria. “We’re not able because of the staffing to offer the students hot lunch service those days, we are still providing lunch,” Sharp says, “I want to make sure everyone knows they are still getting a well balanced meal because we include fruit, vegetable, and milk along with that lunch.”

At School District 51, several schools are offering a limited lunch menu. This means that some schools aren’t offering a hot lunch option due to extreme staffing shortages, but at Fruitvale Elementary, high school students in the career center program through D-51 have been brought over to help assist lunch operations and this school is back to offering a hot lunch option.

Thanks to high school students like Gabby Vigil. “It is fun, its a little hectic, but its fun,” Vigil says, “it’s almost like working at a restaurant, a restaurant for kids.”

D-51 hopes to return to normal staffing numbers after the holiday season, but you might be asking yourself, what’s causing employees to leave their position? “Some are COVID-19 related, some are other health related reasons and because of that an average staff at a school is around three to four people and we were down to only one employee,” Sharp said.

But while the district searches to fill open positions, they are thankful for those still working. “I’m really proud of the 120 front line heroes in our school kitchens,” Sharp says.

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