End of line: Federal waiver allowing free school breakfast, lunch set to expire | News, Sports, Jobs




Altoona Area High School Mia Carper, 16, adds fries to her lunch selection on Tuesday. The federal nutrition exemption program that allowed schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of family income, will expire on June 30. Mirror photo of Patrick Waksmunski

School districts have faced many challenges when it comes to providing meals to students during the pandemic – from supply chain issues and rising costs to social distancing and COVID cleaning protocols -19.

But an action taken by Congress has made the job a little easier.

The federal nutrition exemption program has allowed schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of family income, school leaders said.

Now that the waivers are due to expire on June 30, school districts plan to move forward, while holding out hope that the program will be extended.

Betsy Snyder, director of food services for the Hollidaysburg-area school district, said the free meals were appreciated not only by students and their families, but also by food service, because cafeteria workers could focus on feeding the students instead of wasting their time. monitor student payment accounts.

Altoona Area High School Triniti Stehley, 18, selects an orange to add to her lunch on Tuesday. Mirror photo of Patrick Waksmunski

School officials said the waivers are important as communities recover from the pandemic. The waivers also increased meal attendance and that, in turn, helped students focus on their studies, officials said.

“This program has been a great benefit to students and districts,” said Kalie Zabrosky, business manager for the Williamsburg Community School District. “Providing all students with free meals allowed them to eat without any additional financial burden on their families.”

Altoona area high school students eat at a lunch hall on Tuesday. The federal nutrition exemption program that allowed schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of family income, will expire on June 30. Mirror photo of Patrick Waksmunski


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