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Sycamore, Genoa-Kingston schools hold first day of meal pickup as they prep for e-learning

DeKalb County school districts are happy with the efforts their staffs have made during Monday’s first run of supply and meal pickups.

Jim Cleven, principal at Sycamore Middle School, was there helping facilitate pickup at the building Monday.

“I’ve seen at least 20-some staff members helping out, passing out stuff, walking kids to their lockers and planning [for the week],” Cleven said.

Cleven said a little more than 200 sixth and seventh graders received their Chromebooks and between 150 to 200 students were able to get to their lockers – one at a time – with just about an hour left to go in the school’s supply pickup. Monday marked the last day the buildings will be available for students as Gov. JB Pritzker’s mandate to close all schools through the end of the month to prevent the spread of COVID-19 goes into effect.

Cleven called the supply pickup procedure, because of a virus, unprecedented.

“I’m really proud of my staff with the way they’re handling it,” Cleven said. “Without any prior knowledge, they’re stepping up and knocking it out of the park.”

Cleven mentioned how a lot of teachers worked through the weekend in order to get the activities ready for the students during the state-mandated school closure from March 17 through March 30.

“They were doing a lot on their own time,” he said. “We had paraprofessionals passing out [Chromebooks] today, and the custodians stepped up and helped out, too.”

Cleven said he was proud with how the parents handled everything, and how patient they were.

“I think everybody understands it’s the first time we’ve gone through it and that we’re trying to do the very best we can,” Cleven said.

Cleven said for the most part the students that came in were in and out with their binders and notebooks within 10 minutes. Students will keep their school materials, including the Chromebooks, for the entire school closure period, which extends through the Monday after spring break.

“[But] we will do everything [including] distance learning from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.,” Cleven said. “The social workers, counselors, administrative staff [will be available], but all will be virtually done.”

Meal pick up day 1

in Sycamore, Genoa-Kingston

Sycamore School District Superintendent Kathy Countryman said the parent food pickup on Monday morning was a success.

Sycamore High School staff volunteered from 7 to 9 a.m. Monday to help deliver meals – which include breakfast and lunch – to parents waiting in their vehicles that were parked in the circle drive outside Sycamore High School.

“We served about 135 breakfasts and lunches today,” Countryman said.

Countryman said the district sent an email to parents so they could sign up for food pickup through March 30.

She said for the pickup, parents drove up to the circle drive and district employees met them at their cars, since visitors are not allowed in the school.

“The parents were able to let us know how many [meals] they need,” Countryman said, adding that even if a parent doesn’t sign up for a meal but shows up for one, they will do their best to ensure all get fed. “We don’t want parents to have to wait long, that’s our goal. They didn’t wait long.”

Countryman said the District 427 decided on a morning pickup time to accommodate parents who may still need to go to work.

“I feel today, for our first day, we feel it was a success and we hope our families did too.”


During its first meal pickup day, Genoa-Kingston School District 424 served 308 meals to its students, according to a social media post from the district. The post included a statement from administrators saying they were proud of staff efforts to ensure kids get fed.

The pickup which began Monday, will be from 9 to 11 a.m. through March 20, according to the Genoa-Kingston School District website.

“A reminder that if you have already signed up for meals, your meals will be available all week at your designated pickup site,” according to the post.

For Genoa-Kingston School District parents who have not signed up for the meal service, email, and include your name, students’ names and choice of pickup site, which includes Genoa-Kingston High School, 980 Park Ave., Genoa, Kingston Fire Protection District, 112 E. Railroad St., Genoa City Hall, 333 E. First St., Genoa Masonic Lodge and Genoa Veterans Home, 311 S. Washington St., Genoa.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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