Schools manage despite water restrictions

Area school cafeterias made major adjustments Wednesday to provide students with lunch without using water during preparations.
“When we have an emergency, we’re prepared,” said Karen Duncan, Catawba County Schools child nutrition director.

Newton city officials asked water customers to boil water they use following a break Tuesday in a city water line. Low pressure that occurred from the break increased the potential for bacteria in the water.

As a result, school cafeterias were forced to change their plans for back-to-school lunch preparation.

Newton-Conover City Schools, as well as Startown Elementary School and Balls Creek Elementary School, were affected by the water line break.
Startown and Balls Creek elementary schools served students prepackaged meals of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, strawberry cups, carrots and milk. No water was used during meal preparation.
“My cafeteria staff did a wonderful job,” Duncan said.

Schools originally planned to serve pizza and popcorn chicken, but students still received the five required nutritional components in Wednesday’s prepackaged meal.

“We got them all fed,” Duncan said.

The South Newton Elementary cafeteria used disposable lunch trays instead of the plastic trays they normally use and wash every day.
“The only thing we washed through the dishwasher were pots and pans,” said Yvonne Dietrich, South Newton’s cafeteria manager.

South Newton Elementary also made several changes to food preparation procedures, including boiling vegetables instead of steaming them and not using ice to cool beverages.

“Everything’s run pretty smoothly today,” Dietrich said. “It’s gone well.”