In the light of Gov. JB Pritzker’s order that all Illinois schools will be closed from March 17 through the end of the month, Rantoul City Schools and Rantoul Township High School will work together to provide meals for school children starting March 23.

“We had a meeting today with the food service and transportation staff at several of our feeder schools,” RTHS Superintendent Scott Amerio said Monday. “We are going to work together to provide meals for all of our kids starting on March 23rd.  

Amerio said the transportation staff is working on designated pick-up spots around town.  

“Once those are finalized, RCS and RTHS will divide up those spots,” Amerio said.

Thomasboro will have families who can come to the school and pick up food. For those who cannot make it there, they will deliver.  RTHS will deliver to Fountain Valley mobile home park. Gifford will have a designated pick-up spot in town and then will deliver for anyone who can make it there.  

In Rantoul reimbursable meals will be provided for both breakfast and lunch. Both of these meals will be delivered at the same time with a distribution time of 9 to 9:30 a.m.

“Once we get the plan further finalized, we will send the information out to parents and have it available on our website,” Amerio said.

Said Pritzker of the decision to close schools:

“All of these choices have cascading effects for citizens and vulnerable populations when it comes to food access, safety, childcare and social services. We’ve seen what happens in places that didn’t move with urgency. I ask all of you not to hesitate to do the right thing for your family, your friends and your community. One small step at a time, we will get through this together.”

For now, day cares will remain open, he said.

“By taking these actions now, we hope to slow and limit widespread transmission of this virus, which is essential to ensuring our health care system is not overwhelmed as the disease progresses through our state,” said Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “School closures will help slow the progression of the virus and we are asking for everyone’s help in reducing the spread.”

Schools will be able to continue providing meals to those who receive free-and-reduced-price breakfasts and lunches, the Pritzker administration said, as the state board of education was granted a waiver to continue providing meals.