School lunches for students at Pahranagat Valley Elementary have changed for the 2019-2020 academic school year.

Instead of being bussed to a multipurpose room at the high school, the elementary students are now able to have lunch in their own building.

Principal Brian Higbee said, “It is more convenient for us to do it this way instead of bussing them. We have adapted our multipurpose room; just had to pick up a kitchen warmer and one or two other items. This way, the kids get more time actually spent eating and don’t have to be away from the classroom as long. They get more recess time also.”

Higbee felt the kids were being rushed by having to bus back and forth daily. “And we had to make two runs. Take the older group down first and bring them back, then do the same with the younger grades.”

He said the kids and staff are loving the change. “Even though it’s a little different, it has been quite positive. It just feels good.”

Food is prepared each morning according to the weekly meal-planning schedule. It is brought to the elementary school in a specially equipped district vehicle with warmers. Then it is transferred to warmers in the multipurpose room until the lunch period.

There are also changes in the ingredients in some foods this year. Higbee noted, “The government has allowed us now to have a little more sodium and sugar in the foods and a little more white flour for making rolls and tortillas. Before it was only whole wheat. The kids are really liking the food.”

School food services director Rachel Hosier has been a big help in getting this going. She thinks the change will be of great benefit for the kids.

Higbee said, “It’s been very, very smooth. I even picked up a few more folding tables from Clark County School District that we can use for the lunch period. The tables can then be folded up and set against the wall and out of the way for other activities that are often held in the multipurpose room, especially Wednesday which is physical education day. The fifth graders help set the tables back up after their P.E. period for Thursday’s breakfast and lunch.”

In addition, the breakfast program has seen a dramatic increase from feeding about 12 to now feeding over 60.

“I changed the time for breakfast,” Higbee said. “The kids come at 7:30 a.m. and have a recess time, then about 8 a.m. we have what we call a nutrition break for 15-20 minutes. It’s giving kids who may not have had a breakfast before leaving home something as the school day begins. All of the elementary kids are welcome. If you don’t have anything for breakfast and you come to class, eleven o’clock is a long time for a little person.”

Elsewhere in Lincoln County, the lunch program remains the same as it has been in Pioche, Caliente and Panaca Elementary. Food is brought to Caliente and Pioche in special vehicles from the kitchens at Lincoln County High School and the Panaca Elementary and Middle School kids walk over to the high school.