Free lunches available for all Kansas public school students

By The Herald Staff

All Kansas public school students will receive free breakfast and lunches for the 2020-21 school year.

The National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO) waiver allows all Kansas students the option of free breakfast and lunch

each school day. The waiver allows the SSO to operate when school is open during the regular school year – through June 30, 2022.

U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said this is a continuation of a commitment to provide safe, healthy meals free of charge to children as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The waiver also will help schools continue to plan for a safe opening in the fall. For example, it will eliminate the need to collect meal payments. This speeds up the service of meals, which reduces contact and potential exposure to COVID-19.

The USDA’s National School Lunch Program SSO is typically only available during the summer months. However, extending it allows for a strong emphasis on providing fruits and vegetables, milk and whole grains while allowing schools to serve the meals for free. Schools that choose the SSO option will receive higher-than-normal meal reimbursements for every meal they serve, which will support them in serving the most

nutritious meals possible while managing increased costs associated with operational and supply chain challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents and guardians do not have to fill out an application.