ANAHEIM (CBSLA) — School lunch will no longer look like crowded, noisy cafeterias full of students eating meals and trading items from plastic trays.

Because of the pandemic, one Orange County company says it will look like entrees and sides picked by parents via app, all neatly packed together by kitchen workers in individual bags.

(credit: CBS)

ChoiceLunch’s kitchens in Anaheim were busy Tuesday with many of their contracted private schools in Orange and San Diego County reopening for in-person classes.

Before the pandemic, students would typically line up at a lunch counter and pick what they wanted to accompany their entrees, which would be pre-selected by their parents. Now parents have an app to pick out every component of the meal, which is then individually bagged for students and labeled with their names, ChoiceLunch CEO Justin Gagnon said.

“We’re pretty comfortable about the way we’ve designed our system, to make it where they can either socially distance in the cafeteria when they go pick up their lunch, or actually have schools be able to deliver it to the classroom directly,” he said.

The logistics of school lunch during a pandemic is relevant with districts facing the prospects of reopening some schools sooner rather than later. With Orange County’s rate of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations on the decline, the county could be moved from the purple tier to red as soon as Tuesday, which would allow for the reopening of more businesses and schools.

If Orange County is downgraded to the red tier, some schools could reopen as soon as the end of the month.

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