CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A new waiver will now allow one local school system to better serve their students amid closures from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carter County Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Ward said the system receive a waiver that will loosen federal guidelines to provide lunch to children.

According to Dr. Ward, regulations will not allow the school system to deliver food to students’ homes, but they plan to use buses to hit different portions of the county that are “hotspots” for families that could utilize the service.

The school system released the following details about locations that’ll go into effect next week.

“Carter County Schools will be expanding the school closure student feeding plan as of Monday, March 23rd. The district will continue meal pick-up services at the current five locations from noon until 1 pm Monday through Friday. The locations include: Hunter Elementary, Cloudland Elementary, Happy Valley Elementary, Hampton High School, and Little Milligan School. As of Monday however, children will receive both a breakfast and a lunch at the pick-up. ANY child, 18 or under, may receive these meals. In addition to the original pick-up locations, several others will be added in outer-lying areas of the county. Volunteers throughout the various communities of Carter County will deliver meals to these additional locations where ANY child, 18 and under, may pick up breakfast and lunch. The meals will be delivered in either a Carter County school bus or a local church bus/van. The volunteers will be there from noon until 12:30 Monday through Friday. The current locations are listed below. Keep in mind these could change depending on the needs of our communities. The most current information will be updated on the district’s social media as well as the website.”

• Simerly Creek Believer’s Fellowship Church, 806 Simerly Creek Road, Hampton
• Swimming Pool Road Community, 167 Swimming Pool Road, Hampton
• Keenburg Elementary, 139 Keenburg Road, Elizabethton
• Charity Hill Freewill Baptist Church, 1353 Charity Hill Road, Elizabethton
• MeadowBrook Mobile Home Village, 123 Reeser Road, Johnson City
• Elk Mills volunteer Fire Deprtment, 107 Poga Road, Butler
• Burbank Freewill Baptist Church, 122 Burbank Road, Roan Mountain
• Watauga City Hall, 103 W 4th Ave., Watauga
• Buladean Grocery, 2473 Hwy 91, Elizabethton
• Butler Trading Post, 16308 Hwy 67, Butler

Right now, the school is offering a “drive-thru” service for families at five different sites. A child must be with a guardian to receive food. No one will be allowed in any of the schools at this time, except for essential personnel. That program went into effect today.

RELATED STORY: Carter County Schools to close Wednesday until March 31 due to COVID-19 concerns

According to a release from the county, “School food programs operate under regulations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that dictate a variety of things about how the programs run, including a requirement that the meals be provided to the students on-site. When the Carter County School System announced it was closing as a precaution to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, they began putting plans in place to serve meals designated schools across the community.”

Dr. Ward also thanked County Mayor Rusty Barnett and State Senator Rusty Crowe for their help in making this program a reality.

A press conference with more fleshed out details will also be held Monday.

You can learn more about the county’s response to the disease HERE.

RELATED STORY: Carter County taking steps to support employees, students amid coronavirus pandemic