Capac bus fleet called up to help families

CAPAC — For the first time in almost a month, Capac Community Schools’ bus fleet was on the road again but instead of transporting students to school, staff delivered school–in the form of food and learning packets–to students.

As part of the Continuity of Learning Plan developed in response to the cancellation of the remaining school year, district leaders decided to diversify the way they helped families during the coronavirus quarantine.

Superintendent Jeff Terpenning and staff member Tracie DeGain load Rachel Calcaterra’s bus with boxes of food on Friday destined for approximately 40 stops on Calcaterra’s regular route.


“For some of our families making trips out of their homes is taxing– some for monetary reasons and some for health reasons. We want to make sure our students are getting fed and we felt that running our buses gave us the best option to reach them,” Supt. Jeff Terpenning said.

Families are asked to place a box or cooler at the end of their driveways for school staff to leave the food in. This helps minimize personal contact between people.

“The kids have been leaving notes for their drivers like ‘we miss you’ and ‘thank you,’” Terpenning said.

Since school was shuttered in mid-March, Capac has been distributing free food from the high school cafeteria three days a week. Starting last week, that schedule was amended to two days, Tuesdays and Fridays, to coincide with the bus deliveries. Families still have the option to pick up breakfast and lunch items for any children 18 and under, regardless of where or if they attend school, from the cafeteria on those days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Those students who don’t have internet access at home also receive learning packets with the food drop off. All other students are asked to access assignments online. Teachers are also available to students via phone or email during “office hours” twice a week as well.

Terpenning said the new bus route program is labor intensive but staff and volunteers have stepped up to make it happen.

“Chartwells, our food service provider, has been beyond marvelous through all of this. Our teachers have been great. They’ve been coming in since day one to help pack food,” he said.

“On Friday our custodians came in early and jumped in to help load buses.”

Everyone tries to abide by social distancing protocols while working and volunteers have made masks to school staff to wear when possible.

“All in all it’s been a positive thing for us and a positive experience for the students and that’s our goal,” Terpenning said.