Meals will be offered to students at local schools for no charge for the foreseeable future thanks to extended waivers from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Delaware City Schools reported to families Tuesday that the USDA had extended waivers that allow the district to offer meals at no charge to all families.
“Effective today (Sept. 8), all students enrolled in Delaware City Schools will be able to receive one free breakfast and one free lunch on each school day,” the district said in a message to families. “This includes students in the hybrid attendance model, whether learning at school or at home, and all DCS Online Academy students.”
The district said the free meals are temporary, but the USDA has not said how long the waivers will be extended.
“We will communicate in advance when free meals for all students will be discontinued,” the district said.
Delaware City Schools Director of Communications Jennifer Ruhe said Wednesday the change potentially impacts all students in the district.
“Every student is eligible for a breakfast and lunch at no cost on school days,” Ruhe said. “Students eating breakfast and lunch at school will not be charged for the meals. In addition, all students may sign up for take-home meals on their at-home learning days. Our online academy students are also eligible to participate to pick up meals.”
The district’s announcement outlined how students on both learning models can take advantage of the program.
According to the district, students in the hybrid attendance model must preorder meals using the meal order form for their at-home learning days by Friday at noon. Those meals will be distributed at the end of the school day on their last day of in-person learning for the week. Students going through the breakfast and lunch line while at school will not be charged for their meals. At this time, it is not necessary to add money to a student’s lunch account unless families are paying for negative charges. Lunch money on the account will remain for student use when the waiver ends.
For students enrolled in the DCS Online Academy, they must preorder meals using the meal order form by Friday at noon. Meal distribution for DCS Online Academy students will be on Wednesdays at Willis Education Center from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
“We are pleased to support our students through the USDA meals program,” said Superintendent Heidi Kegley in an email Wednesday. “This program offers every student the opportunity for a nutritious meal through our food service program. We know many of our families are still experiencing financial insecurity, and this program ensures every student can have breakfast and lunch in school and during at-home learning days.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.