LANSING, Mich. — Far from sitting idle during the COVID-19 crisis and resulting school closures, Dean Transportation’s school bus drivers have been playing a frontline role, delivering meals to students statewide.
Following the lead of the school districts and their continuity of learning plans, Dean Transportation is transporting meals to 23 communities up to five days a week depending on demand in each area, according to a news release from the contractor. The company has rallied nearly 150 staff members to drive the buses, distribute food, and/or package meals prior to deliveries. To date, Dean Transportation drivers and other employees have delivered approximately 330,000 meals to schoolchildren across the state.
“Many families in the communities we service rely on school meals to help feed their children. When schools started closing, we knew there was going to be a great deal of need,” said Kellie P. Dean, president and CEO of Dean Transportation. “It was important to us to be a part of the solution.”
Schools using Dean Transportation’s services to deliver district-provided meals to students include:
• Algonac Community Schools.
• AMA Educational Service District.
• Battle Creek Public Schools.
• Birch Run Area Schools.
• Cadillac Area Public Schools.
• Cedar Springs Public Schools.
• Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Services District.
• Colon Community Schools.
• COOR Intermediate School District.
• Crestwood School District.
• Eastpointe Community Schools.
• Grand Blanc Academy.
• Ingham Intermediate School District - Special Education.
• Lake City Area Schools.
• LakeVille Community Schools.
• Lansing School District.
• Marion Public Schools.
• Muskegon Public Schools.
• Muskegon Heights Public Schools Academy System.
• Potterville Public Schools.
• Sparta Area Schools.
• Trenton Public Schools.
• Tri County Area Schools.
• Walled Lake Consolidated Schools.
Of the 100 buses delivering food, 22 are specifically designated to deliver to students with special needs.
“Our company was originally founded to serve families of students with different abilities, and that passion still drives our operations today,” Dean said. “I am incredibly proud of the role our drivers and staff are playing to support schools and families to ensure our students — including those with special needs — are taken care of as this pandemic runs its course.”
Dean said a big part of keeping students, families, and staff safe through the pandemic comes from following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
“We have a thorough plan to keep everyone safe and healthy during food delivery,” Dean said. “Some aspects of our safety plan are strict check-in procedures for health screening, cleaning the buses after each route with CDC-approved cleaner, wearing personal protective equipment, and adhering to social distancing policies.”
Dean said that Dean Transportation will continue delivering district-supplied meals to students at the districts’ requests and based on their continuity of learning plans.
“COVID-19 has created a lot of hardship for families in our districts. We will keep doing everything in our power to make sure our partners, families, students and communities make it through this hard time together,” he added.