Lincoln Public Schools offering free breakfast and lunch to every student
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Since the pandemic began, one thing that has looked very different for LPS students is lunch.
Starting during the 2020 school year, plexiglass was inserted in every LPS lunchroom in order to keep kids safe, while still letting them enjoy their food among friends.
LPS made the decision that all Pre-K through sixth grade students must wear masks in school, so the plexiglass remains in elementary and middle schools, but it’s been removed in high schools.
“It’s an adjustment,” LPS Director of Nutrition Services, Andrew Ashelford said. “Last year I had a kindergartener eat lunch and they didn’t know any better so they jumped right in and it wasn’t a big deal, but it’s an adjustment from being able to talk to anyone you want to, now you’re kind of talking to a small group of kids. But again, it’s for the kids to make sure that we’re providing the best environment for them.”
The lunch tables are split into pods of four to six students.
During the 2021-2022 school year, LPS will incorporate a program called the Seamless Summer Option. The program has been extended through the current school year, and offers every student K-12 a free breakfast and lunch.
The program allows every student to order one entrée, fruit or vegetable and milk of their choice at no cost. The meals are all regulated by the USDA, and meets the calorie, fat, sodium and whole grain requirements.
There is no formal process to sign up for the program, as LPS said all students have already been registered into the system to receive the free meals.
“There’s a lot of families still struggling from COVID-19, that are still struggling to find jobs, and our kids are so important to the city and to the district,” Ashelford said. “Providing a good meal for breakfast and lunch is very important so they can succeed in the classroom.”
In just the first two days of the 2021-2022 school year, LPS averaged roughly 23,000 lunches and 5,000 breakfasts served a day.
The current school lunch program is effective through June 30, which will be the entire school year for LPS students. As of right now, there is no indication whether the free meals will be offered past this school year.
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