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Family Dining, 2020-Style

What's a school to do when a key piece of its community interaction—the family-style dining program—is sidelined by a global pandemic?  It transforms!
What's a school to do when a key piece of its community interaction—the family-style dining program—is sidelined by a global pandemic? 
 
It transforms.
 
Peck's longstanding tradition of family-style dining entailed mixing students across grades and sharing the duties of serving each other. After grades were organized into strict cohorts for physical distancing, that type of meal was off the table.
 
Peck’s COVID-19 Task Force, an interdepartmental group of faculty and administrators, worked diligently over the summer to figure out a lunchtime solution to not only feed students and faculty, but to encourage the conversation, relaxation, and bonding that often happens around the lunch table.
 
Chef Joe Mirra quickly moved his dining services online to a platform called Nutrislice, on which parents could now order à la carte options for their children. The next step was getting lunches to the kids, which would now be delivered to each classroom in warming bags. 
 
In the Lower School, students eat in their classrooms, at their individual desks surrounded by plexiglass on three sides. Given this barrier, they are able to eat safely while also enjoying downtime with their classmates. 
 
Peck’s Upper School Advisory model offered a built-in solution for retaining our tradition of Family Dining in the Upper School. As well as meeting daily, advisory groups enjoy their lunch hour together, ensuring that they're creating and maintaining meaningful connections, despite the change in locale.
 
Sometimes, we can't predict what a school year will bring. But Peck has deftly adapted to the many changes that arose as a result of the health crisis—and anything else that comes along.
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