Bay Area school districts work to address students eating outside in rain due to COVID

The rainy weather has some Bay Area school districts planning on how to address children eating outside to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.

Wednesday’s on and off drizzle was not enough to cancel outdoor lunch at Beach Elementary School in Piedmont.

Pop-up tents and umbrellas were set up in the patio to cover children during the lunch hour in anticipation of inclement weather. Students have been eating lunch outdoors as part of COVID-19 safety protocols.

"I actually prefer them eating outside than inside," Arin Kramer, a parent, said. "I think it's safer. This morning we got dressed up in warm clothes and put on layers in case it was going to be raining during lunch."

Since COVID-19 safety protocols could continue for the foreseeable future, KTVU asked Piedmont Unified about its plans to address heavy rains, a drop in temperatures, and even wildfire smoke. A spokesman for the Piedmont Unified School District said it is working on sending out a letter to parents to inform them of any changes in the event of severe weather.

KTVU obtained a copy of an email sent to parents by the principal of Beach Elementary that school officials will be tracking weather data and will consider adjustments to eating outdoors, which could include children eating lunch indoors in shifts.

"The Piedmont school district has been great about communicating about umbrellas and other shading structures they're putting up to keep kids dry," Emily Harrold, a parent, said. "Our family would love to maintain safety protocols. if it means eating outside during inclement weather, totally fine with us."

Morning recess at the school was cancelled because of the rain, but the playgrounds were open again by the afternoon. The feeling among parents is that the district has done a good job communicating, testing, and keeping COVID-19 case rates low.

"I’m hopeful that before the heavy rains come we’ll get vaccine for 5 to 11 year-olds," Kramer said. "I think it’s great that they’re trying to maintain it outside as much as possible."

Parents also said they were told to dress their children in layers and to have students bring an extra set of clothing to school as a precaution.