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All 13 Kingsport school cafeterias earn perfect health scores

Rick Wagner • Updated Jan 28, 2019 at 10:54 AM

KINGSPORT — For only the second time since the spring of 2016, all 13 Kingsport City Schools’ cafeterias for the fall of 2018 earned a perfect health inspection score.

“How amazing is it your kids get to eat in the largest restaurant in the city, which we are, and we have a 100 (perfect score) to post,” said Jennifer Walker, School Nutrition Services director for KCS. She and some of the cafeteria managers were honored for the achievement at a recent Kingsport Board of Education meeting. It was the second all-perfect health score performance since she came to KCS in 2014.

HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO RESTAURANT INSPECTIONS?

School cafeterias are inspected by Tennessee health inspectors twice each school year, and the inspections are similar to those that take place in restaurants, with the purpose to identify deficiencies in food preparation and delivery safety. KCS cafeterias served an average of more than 6,000 meals each day during the first semester, Walker said.

“We get the same inspections that the restaurants do, it’s just that we get them twice a year because we serve an at-risk population,” Walker said. “You don’t know when they are coming. They just show up.”

WHAT FACILITIES WERE INCLUDED?

The school system’s 13 cafeterias include ones at Dobyns-Bennett High School, D-B EXCEL, middle and elementary schools and the Palmer Early Learning Center. Cora Cox Academy, the alternative school, is a satellite cafeteria operation.

The perfect score is different than the recent administrative review perfect score earned by Rogersville City School and featured in a recent Times News story. Those reviews by Tennessee go over required federal and state reporting requirements.

“That’s a wow. They (administrative review inspectors) always find something,” Walker said of the RCS perfect score for its cafeteria. She said those administrative inspections normally occur every three years but that the next one for Kingsport City Schools has been delayed until 2020 or 2021 because of catching up on procurement reviews.

“We’ll probably have one of those next year,” Walker said.

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