SCHS will continue to provide free breakfasts and lunches to students through end of academic year

Stephens County School System’s Nutrition Director Kim Caudell has announced that recent action with the U.S Department of Agriculture will allow students to have free breakfasts and lunches at Stephens County High School until the end of the academic year.

Last month, Caudell announced that the School System had received funding from the USDA allowing all students to have free breakfasts and lunches until December 31, 2020; however, that has been extended until June 30, 2021.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the USDA would extend its flexibilities to allow free meals to continue to be available to all children throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year.

Secretary Perdue said quote, “As our nation recovers and reopens, we want to ensure that children continue to receive the nutritious breakfasts and lunches they count on during the school year wherever they are, and however they are learning,” end quote.

The USDA previously extended child nutrition waivers through December 2020 based upon available funding at the time.

The new flexibilities extended Friday will allow schools and other local program operators to continue to leverage the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option to provide no cost meals to all children through June 30, 2021.

Caudell says Stephens County High School is the only school that doesn’t participate in the Community Eligibility Provision that provides free breakfast and lunch every day throughout the school year; however, under this extension, the high school will be able to provide free lunch and breakfast for students until the end of the academic year.

The USDA can extend these waivers due to language in the continuing resolution signed into law by President Trump last week.

USDA is also extending waivers through June 30, 2021, that allow meals to be served in all areas and at no cost; permit meals to be served outside of the typically required group settings and meal times, waive meal pattern requirements, as necessary; and allows parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children.