Back-to-School: Cafeteria workers, bus drivers continuing the commitment to students

WATCH: Back-to-school: School cafeteria workers, bus drivers continuing the commitment to students

MILLINGTON, Tenn. — From school bus drivers to cafeteria workers, there’s a sense of pride that comes with the job.

Without looking for a spotlight, these men and women are going the extra mile every day to execute preventive measures in the fight against COVID-19.

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FOX13 went behind the scenes at Millington Municipal Schools to speak with these unsung hero’s working to keep our children safe from the potential spread of the virus.

The preparation to keep kids fed at Millington Middle School begins before the start of the school day.

From severing up milk and cereal for breakfast to chicken patties, baked beans, veggies and apple slices for lunch.

The cafeteria workers spend at least five to eight hours on their feet in the kitchen.

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“It’s hot in the kitchen already,” said Suzy Leso. “When we wear our mask too, it makes it even harder. We go home tired because the heat takes a lot out of your body.”

Millington Municipal Schools is using a hybrid model with only 42 percent of students back in school causing lower meal orders.

“It’s sad to say but about half the amount of what we’re doing,” said Vicki Chen, Supervisor for School Nutrition Millington Municipal Schools. “We did about 30,000 less lunches than the previous year. That’s only because we shut down in March.”

To limit contact with students the food is distributed to classrooms.

“It’s been a little challenging but we have kind of gotten used to it,” said Donna Jones, Cafeteria Manager We first adjusted to make sure these kids are fed.”

Even catching a school bus is different now. Bus drivers for Durham School Services are adjusting by taking safety precautions.

“Not until we have our temperature checked and they know we do not have a fever, can we even clock in and start the workday,” said Melvin Thomas, bus driver.

Instead of a bus full of kids, it’s limited to about ten students. Even with the new regulations in place, bus drivers are still going the extra mile to make the ride enjoyable for students

“It used to be a big thing to let them know we were smiling every morning as they got on to help them start their day ready to learn,” Thomas said. “Now with a mask on you have to do that in your voice to let them know they are welcome.”

The school bus driver took FOX13 through different protocols like cleaning and how they seat students with space between each child.

“We make sure that the children are social distancing,” said Sandra Hallburton.

It’s because of their commitment to students these school bus drivers and cafeteria workers continue to show up to school and do their best job.

In the past three weeks, there have been no reported COVID-19 cases at Millington Municipal Schools among its students and staff. The district did report one isolated COVID-19 case with a contracted worker.