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No school for Washington students, but districts are giving out free meals

Districts are using campuses and school busses to deliver meals to students who rely on free or reduced lunches at their schools.

LACEY, Wash. — With schools closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, districts in Washington state are working on how to get lessons and educational materials to students.

But they’re not waiting to deliver meals to those who rely on free and reduced meals.

“There are so many students who depend on these meals every day,” said Alicia Neal, the director of food and nutrition services for North Thurston Public Schools.

Neal and others in the district worked over the weekend to ensure meals were ready to hand out Monday morning.

“If you’re not nourished, you can’t learn,” said Neal.

Within the first hour, the staff at Lydia Hawk Elementary handed out more than 90 meals to parents driving up to the school or walking up with their students.

RELATED: Real-time updates: Coronavirus in Washington state

“It’s wonderful,” said mother Vanessa Ward. “I have two kids and they’re very hungry.”

A spokesperson for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction said as many as 45% of the state's students qualify for free or reduced-priced meals.

The Olympia School District handed out meals on campuses and with vans visiting apartment complexes.

Students in the North Mason School District are getting breakfast and lunches delivered in school busses.

It's important to check your own district's website to see what they are doing for student meals -- each district can be different.

All schools will be closed starting Tuesday, March 17 and are expected to open April 27 at the very earliest.

RELATED: Seattle teacher offers tips for teaching kids at home during school closures