Free school meals to be provided though 2021-22 school year, USDA says

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The US Department of Agriculture has announced that it will “allow school meal programs and childcare institutions across the country to return to serving healthy meals in fall 2021 as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to reopen schools safely.”

According to the USDA, these flexibilities that enable social distancing will be in place through June 20, 2022. Schools will also be allowed to provide meals through the National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option.

Schools that choose to participate will receive “higher-than-normal” meal reimbursements for every meal they serve so that they can provide meals to all students that need one.

“It’s critical that our efforts to reopen schools quickly and safely include programs that provide access to free, healthy meals for our most vulnerable students, particularly those whose communities have been hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “This program will ensure more students, regardless of their educational setting, can access free, healthy meals as more schools reopen their doors for in-person learning.”

The meals will be provided for free regardless of eligibility, according to the USDA.

For more information about the program, visit the USDA website.

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