Changes in federal government rules has resulted in free meals now being offered to all students in the Fayette County Public Schools system.
“Due to changes in the rules governing the federal school lunch program, Fayette County Public Schools can now offer free meals to all students, meaning that students will not be charged for lunch, and breakfast where available, at any school regardless of families’ income eligibility for free or reduced-price meals,” said school system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach.
Berry-Dreisbach said the free meals are being made possible through special funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that is set to expire Dec. 31 or when federal funds have been exhausted, whichever comes first. The school system will participate in the program as long as funding is available.
Explaining how the program works for students attending school on the hybrid schedule, Berry-Dreisbach said:
Students are served meals on the days they are at school, Mondays and Tuesdays for Group A, and Thursdays and Fridays for Group B. Each group receives meals for their virtual learning days on their last day at school: Group A picks up meals prior to dismissal on Tuesdays for Wednesday — Friday, and Group B picks up meals prior to dismissal on Fridays for Monday — Wednesday.
Pre-kindergarten through second grade brick and mortar students are served daily at their home school.
Virtual students pick up their meals at their school of attendance on Wednesdays in the bus loop or car lane. They receive five breakfasts and five lunches each week. Hours for elementary schools are 12-1 p.m., with the exception of Peeples, Peachtree City and Kedron Elementary schools where hours are 9-10 a.m.; middle and high school hours are 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Options to expand breakfast service and offer additional serving times are being considered.
Berry-Dreisbach said the Covid-19 health pandemic has impacted the finances for many Fayette County Public School families who may now qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program that provides access to free or reduced meals for the entire 2020-2021 school year.
To determine eligibility, parents need to complete the online meal application as soon as possible at www.myschoolapps.com