USDA Waiver Extended, Allowing District to Continue Free Meals
West Fargo, ND – (October 9, 2020) – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today an extension to a current waiver that will allow West Fargo Public Schools to serve free meals to all students through the remainder of the academic year.
The USDA previously extended child nutrition waivers through December 2020 based upon available funding at the time. The flexibilities extended today will allow schools and other local program operators to continue to leverage the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to provide no cost meals to all children, available at over 90,000 sites across the country, through June 30, 2021. “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,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in the organization’s press release.
In West Fargo Public Schools, all students will receive free meals each day school is in session, whether that be in-person, hybrid, or online days.
FREE & REDUCED MEAL PROGRAM
Even though all students will receive free meals, the district requests every family complete the online free/reduced meal application for the federal meal program. The amount of funding the district receives is dependent on our rate of free/reduced students, as is our eligibility for additional grant funding. Ensuring our free/reduced rate is an accurate representation of our district is vital in providing a valuable education. Additionally, families eligible for the program receive waivers for fees associated with student activities, college applications, and standardized tests (ACT, SAT, and AP exams). As of today, the families of nearly 2,000 West Fargo students still need to submit the application.
OFFSITE MEAL SERVICE
Families are asked to submit meal order forms if they will need meals during offsite (online) instructional days or if they are enrolled in the virtual program and in need of meals.
OFFSITE MEALS FOR HYBRID STUDENTS (DISTRICT PLAN)
Through completion of an online form, parents can preorder meals for the three days per week their student is online learning. These forms are due by 5:00PM each Wednesday for the students in the Monday-Tuesday group and by 5:00PM each Monday for the students in the Thursday-Friday group. The box contains three breakfasts and three lunches; partial orders are not accepted.
Meals are sent home with students on the last day of their onsite learning for the week (on Tuesdays for the Monday-Tuesday group and on Fridays for the Thursday-Friday group).
OFFSITE MEALS FOR VIRTUAL PROGRAM STUDENTS
Students that are participating in the Virtual Program still have access to the district’s food service program. Parents can preorder a weekly meal box by completing an online form by 5:00PM each Thursday. The box contains five breakfasts and five lunches; partial orders are not accepted.
Meal distribution occurs on Wednesdays from 11:00AM – 12:00PM at Cheney Middle School, Liberty Middle School, and Heritage Middle School. Weekend backpack program bags are also available during this time.