Meal prep suspended at Upstate school after employee tests positive for COVID-19, officials say

Meal prep suspended at Upstate school after employee tests positive for COVID-19, officials say
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WYFF) - Greenville County Schools officials say they have suspended meal preparation at one site, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

Tim Waller, the director of media relations, says food preparation was stopped at Hillcrest High on Wednesday, April 1, when an employee got sick and was referred for COVID-19 testing.

He says food preparation will be suspended at Hillcrest until a 14 day quarantine period is over.

Waller says the employee has not been on site since Monday, March 30.

This is the first Food and Nutrition Services employee to test positive for the coronavirus, Waller said.

Officials say meals were served on Thursday and Friday, but they were prepared at another site, by a different team of employees.

Waller says all staff who were working at the Hillcrest High site were asked to self-quarantine on Wednesday, until the test results came back. Based on the positive test, those employees will stay in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

The kitchen at Hillcrest High has been preparing roughly 2,600 meals per day for distribution to students, Waller said.

Officials cited the state Department of Health and Human Services, saying “interaction by those receiving meals is not considered “prolonged exposure.” They say neither the CDC nor the FDA consider food to be at risk of carrying the virus.

Bus delivery sites from the Hillcrest High location include: Parkside at Verdae, Hyde Park, Mauldin Heights, Berkley Pointe, Lions Gate (Old Mill Rd.), Mauldin Gardens, Rocky Creek Apts., Avalon Apts., Fountain Hills (Chapman Road), and Gateway Village.

Waller says in the future, if a FANS employee is tested for COVID-19, the site will be shut down until the test results come back. If results are negative, all can return to work. If positive, they must quarantine for 14 days (or amount recommended by DHEC at the time).

Officials say other locations will handle that site's responsibilities while it is shut down, and they will try to assemble a new team to handle that meal preparation and delivery.

The school district says they will continue this process until they are unable to recruit enough employees to continue the program.

“It is possible, if the virus significantly impacts our food service or transportation staffs, that we will have to scale back the operation from its current 84 locations,” Waller said.

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