School kids hold outdoor food service despite summer heat

Written by Ean Thompson, CNN

New York City public school students are enjoying lunch outside on the hot summer day. The stars of the upcoming reality show, “NYC Prep,” headed to Central Park with their food service provider for a hot meal Monday.

The event comes as New York’s public schools were forced to close Monday as temperatures soared above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius).

The New York Department of Education said the classes of student who planned to hold outdoor schools despite the temperature were still open, and that the classes were fully registered and paid for.


The NYC Department of Education issued a statement about the heat index level at the sites of NYC Prep’s three classrooms:

“Tuesday’s temperature was 96 degrees, which was within DOE’s ‘red zone’ for extreme heat, so students were allowed to stay in their classrooms — temperatures were not allowed to rise above 94 degrees, and students had access to coolers and drinking water at all times.”

However, the school wouldn’t have been able to get away with so much food neglect.

The Feeding America D.C. Area Feed a Child Day program promotes education about hunger in the United States, and what to do about it. In order to let kids eat “yummy school lunches” during the service day, state and federal government stipulated that all food in the schools could not be served at restaurants or schools.

The NYC Prep alumni kitchen during the first season. © John Rainford/CNN

The 2017 report explains this by saying “the USDA defines food schools can’t serve as ‘food’ but rather ‘food and beverages’ that are accessible ‘in a free and appropriate manner.’”

Included on the program’s list of approved food and beverages are fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, juice, cooked rice, egg whites, pasta, oats, rice and oats in the morning, and lunch entrees (grilled chicken, grilled beef or pasta) and fresh fruit and vegetables (grilled chicken, grilled steak, sausage, carrot and squash).


The New York state Department of Education inspects and maintains and approves food safety procedures at all the schools.

Foodservice staff must make sure their products are “preservative-free, have additives listed on the label, have approved food safety standards, and that there is proper cooking temperatures and utensils used to reheat the food,” according to the report.

Faced with itchy eyes and excessive sweating

Posters emblazoned with the line “We eat for real” hung on the windows of the buses serving students who ran across the road to lunch. The bus driver who led the way through Central Park and into the park’s fountain holding their food container, said the students were “so cute.”


“One girl has a large problem with hives and she was running so fast, I thought she would get dropped and bounce off of a building,” Bob Cavanaugh, the bus driver, told CNN. “The kids are so cute. I would take all of them home with me tomorrow.”

Earlier, students had piled into the bus on a heat wave with their cases of water and snack boxes.

The students were thrilled to eat on the bus — with portable air conditioners set up on the opposite side of the vehicle, so they could cool off — and entertained the bus driver and his fellow passengers with very loudly printed slogans reading “First I fry, then I eat!”

“I used to eat for real,” said one student while clutching an apple, and “I had a cold pizza in middle school, I almost threw up.”


Another student named Jaiden added, “I forgot how boring it was eating inside. This was my first time out here.”

A large pantry was set up inside the bus, to which the students brought everything they packed in their lunch bags — from water bottles to pasta to sliced mangoes and papayas. When asked what “s” word they’d use to describe today’s outdoor lunch, they all responded with the same word: “Star.”

More hot days

On a light summer day, temperatures reached a high of 94 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius), according to CNN.

The National Weather Service issued heat advisories and warnings for several localities, including Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, according to CNN Weather.

But without a cooling system in place, the teenagers were forced to return to school to cool off inside, said the school’s own teacher and director, Cecilia Baccaglini.

“I know we can’t help them,” she said. “But maybe for a couple of days, I would like them to be in the same place for an hour, and people are being nice and

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