Sewage Leak Halts Hot Lunches

Students and staff concerned about quality of district packaged lunch

Counselor Ursula Rosales serves pizza to hungry students in the cafeteria during the second day of the closing of the school's kitchen.
Agnes Kaufusi
Counselor Ursula Rosales serves pizza to hungry students in the cafeteria during the second day of the closing of the school’s kitchen.

Fremont High School students went without hot food for lunch for the second day in a row due to a sewage leak that began Thursday Oct. 7 and continued into Friday.

Instead, they received packaged lunches due to Oakland Unified School District policy that all foods be packaged to ensure the food does not become contaminated. The administration at Fremont provided additional Little Caesar pizza for the students on Friday.

Students waited until 1 p.m. on Thursday for lunches that contained a chicken salad which many students and staff compared to “cat food.” Friday’s lunch was a turkey and cheese sandwich with apples and a juice box which other students said was not enough.

“It’s not fair,” said Siatu Otuafi a junior student in the Architecture Academy. “The amount of food they give us is so small. Most students aren’t even getting full off of it.”

According to Robert Law, the administrative supervisor of nutrition services with Oakland Unified School District, the lunches are packaged either at Prescott Central Kitchen, Oakland High School or various factories depending on the food type.

The kitchen at Fremont High School remains closed for the second day as students go without hot lunches.
Jerome Pope
The kitchen at Fremont High School remains closed for the second day as students go without hot lunches.

The district declined to state the name of the factories but said they were scattered throughout the state. Most are in southern California but other factories are located out of state.

Fremont filed a work order with the district and several attempts have been made to fix the leak but none have worked. The kitchen manager said the issue will be worked on over the weekend and should be fixed by Monday.

The district will only serve cold food to students for up to five days. “Then we figure out a way to send in hot foods,” said Law.

He also said the district is contacting student councils to discuss ongoing food concerns.