USDA Waiver Extended for 2021 - 2022, Allowing District to Continue Free Meals
West Fargo, ND – (May 5, 2021) – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an extension to a current waiver that will allow West Fargo Public Schools to serve free meals to all students through June 30, 2022.
According to their press release, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is extending multiple waivers throughout the nation that will allow meals to be served in all areas at no cost to families, no matter economic status. Additionally, the waivers permit districts flexibility in the locations and times that meals can be made available to children.
“Students’ success in the classroom goes hand in hand with their ability to access basic needs like healthy and nutritious meals,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in the organization’s press release. “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. 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.”
At West Fargo Public Schools, all students will receive free meals each day school is in session through the end of the next academic year. For this coming summer, the Food Service Department will be offering free summer meals and weekly grocery boxes; details will be shared as they are finalized in the coming weeks.
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).