Tuesday 26th May 2020

Can schools provide food when they start to reopen from 1 June?


Schools will be allowed to provide food for pupils when they begin to reopen from 1 June.[1]


Currently, written guidance from the government does not include provision of PPE for catering staff; however, schools are being encouraged to draw on any PPE they currently possess (where it is not needed for another purpose, such as providing close care to an ill pupil) to provide catering staff with protection when schools start to reopen. (DfE, personal communication)


The guidance currently published by the DfE regarding food provision are outlined in here. (DfE, personal communication) There is also guidance relating to catering in the DfE’s ‘Planning guide for primary schools’.


Schools are also being encouraged to practice social distancing where possible when providing food for pupils. Measures could include:


  • Conducting a risk assessment on the potential spread of coronavirus in the kitchen and canteen.
  • Operating a ‘family style’ service, where pupils remain seated and are served by a member of the catering team, or food is collected by a member of staff and brought to the pupils.
  • Keeping pupils in their class groups when eating food to ensure individuals do not mix with those from outside their groups.
  • Serving simple meals so that catering staff can avoid contact with other members of catering staff in the kitchen.
  • Operating with reduced staff in the kitchen.
  • Eating in classrooms to avoid mixing in the canteen initially when schools reopen.[2]


Schools should also be alert to any further updates regarding the use of PPE for catering staff.


We will update this article in line with any changes to the guidance for food provision. To get notified with any updates, add this article to your ‘Watch list’ by clicking the blue bell icon to the right of this page!


For further guidance on operating catering under social distancing, our blog by CMC School Food can be read here!

Related terms: coronavirus, corona virus, covid, COVID, COVID-19, covid19, personal protective equipment

[1] DfE (2020) (Telephone conversation regarding providing meals when schools reopen from 1 June) [Personal communication: 19 May 2020]

[2] CMC School Food (2020) ‘The new look to school meals’, p.2-3