Every JCPS student to receive free meals regardless of family income, school
July 29, 2021 — Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) will serve hot meals to most of its 96,000 enrolled students inside school buildings when classes resume this year, ending a nearly 17-month pandemic-inspired meal system that included bulk curbside food pickup for anyone 18 and under.
During the 2021-22 school year, all JCPS students will be eligible for free meals, regardless of family income or the school they attend. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended funding for school districts across the country to offer the free meals to every public school student.
“I am proud of the extraordinary work our staff has done over the past year and a half to make sure young people in our community received appealing, nutritious meals and snacks throughout the pandemic,” said Julia Bauscher, executive director of JCPS Nutrition Services. “Although we will be making some adjustments to our meal service to adapt to the changing landscape in our schools, we’re looking forward to the coming school year and returning to some sense of a normal schedule and serving kids in cafeterias again.”
Click here to watch the Nutrition Services announcement.
Starting Aug. 11, the first day of school, those adjustments will include:
- Meals will be provided only to students enrolled in JCPS district schools.
- No curbside meal service for the general public. For most JCPS students, who will be attending in-person classes, all meals will be served in school buildings. To support students enrolled in the district’s virtual academy, JCPS will host five locations for students to pick up a week’s worth of bulk items. Only students enrolled in the virtual school are eligible to pick up meals, and they must register in advance for the meals. More information on registering will be provided to families.
- The district will retain popular options that grew from remote learning-time food service, such as the “fast pass” breakfast kiosks, allowing students to grab and go with their morning meals, at many locations.
- Many other meal features and options will continue:
- After school snacks and suppers will be available for qualified after-school programs.
- At middle and high schools, vending machines will be open for a la carte sales, but branded pizza will not be on the menu this year. The district is working to bring it back as soon as possible.
Bauscher encouraged families to continue being patient as in-school meals resume for the first time in a year and half. She noted that menus are subject to vary with availability, and that just as restaurants nationwide are experiencing shortages and food disruptions, so are school districts.
In addition, Dan Ellnor, assistant director of Nutrition Services, announced that more than 11.5 million meals have been served since March 16, 2020.
“Our Nutrition Services staff have stepped up to serve millions of meals to children and young people during this difficult year,” Ellnor said. “In some cases, the meals were the only full meals they received each week.”