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Story in Brief

The state of Georgia requires school nutrition employees to obtain 10 hours of continued education (CEUs) yearly. But then the pandemic hit. So a team of Southwest District Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agents developed an online training curriculum for school nutrition employees. The curriculum “Cooking Up a Safe Kitchen” was developed to address topics of food safety such as proper handwashing methods, the temperature danger zone, proper hygiene, contamination from use of mobile devices, proper internal cooking temperatures, appropriate cooling and reheating methods, as well as how towels and sponges can leave behind bacteria. Food service employees were provided training through Google Classroom. This electronic platform allowed school nutrition directors and their employees across southwest Georgia to digitally access training materials, maintaining their safety during the pandemic. Using this digital platform to educate food handlers made it possible to expand Extension's outreach to involve new counties that had not previously participated in a UGA Extension training. The collaboration reached 121 school nutrition employees throughout six counties in southwest Georgia. One student shared two valuable lessons: “Remember how easy it is to make someone sick by not doing the right thing,” and “make sure everything I learn, I also practice every day.”