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ISBE: Schools can serve meals at no cost to students in 2021-22 school year

School Lunch

(WSIL) -- The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced Thursday that schools can continue to serve meals at no charge to all students throughout the 2021-22 school year.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the availability of the Seamless Summer Option, which is traditionally only available during the summer.

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Participating schools will offer healthy meals at no charge to all their students and will receive a higher than normal reimbursement rate per meal served.

“The pandemic brought many economic challenges to our families, so we are very happy that healthy meals will be available at no charge for all students throughout this critically important school year,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Many of our students rely on schools to meet their nutritional meals. Study after study shows that proper nutrition supports improved performance in school. We encourage school districts to participate to help fuel learning renewal this year.”

Families should contact their local school to find out if they are participating in the Seamless Summer Option this school year or other federal school nutrition programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Special Milk Program. Local schools can also provide other details about their meal service.

Seamless Summer Option meals are a healthy, balanced selection of grains, vegetables, milk, fruits, and protein foods. The MyPlate Guide to School Lunch and MyPlate Guide to School Breakfast highlights how a variety of healthy foods are part of the meals.

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