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Schools can offer free meals all year

USDA extends program through June 30, 2021

Local schools and meal programs can provide free meals to all community children until July.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending flexibilities to allow free meals for children through

June 30, 2021.

The USDA is extending waivers through the entire 2020-21 school year that:

* Allow Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option meals to be served in all areas at no cost.

* Permit meals to be served outside of the typically required group settings and meal times.

* Waive meal pattern requirements as necessary.

* Allow parents and guardians to pick up meals for their children.

The USDA said these program flexibilities allow schools and local program operators to operate a meal service model that best meets their community’s unique needs, while keeping kids and staff safe.

“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,” Perdue said.

The USDA previously extended child nutrition waivers through December 2020.

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