Maryland public schools to charge for meals served during virtual instruction

Maryland

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County Public Schools and the Board of Education are finalizing back to school plans, and that includes figuring out how to make students have access to meals during the virtual school year.

Since schools closed in March, Montgomery County Public Schools says it’s served over 4 million free meals to children under 18, which includes both MCPS students and non-students. State and federal waivers made that all possible, but those exceptions are set to run out for jurisdictions across the state.

“We so appreciated those waivers it was really critical in our effort to get that food out as widely as we were able to,” said Essie McGuire, Associate Superintendent of Operations for MCPS during a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

Per state and federal guidelines, when the school year starts up again, only enrolled students can be served meals. That goes for jurisdictions across Maryland.

As of right now, students and families will have to pay for meals when the school year starts. MCPS officials say those meals will cost $2.55 apiece.

Associate Superintendent McGuire says Montgomery County, along with other Maryland counties are pushing for an extension on the waivers that allow for extended distribution and free meals after summer ends.

“We, along with our other jurisdictions and many of our elected officials, have been advocating for the continuance of those lenient guidelines to be able to continue to flexible meal delivery since we’re not in a brick and mortar school environment,” said McGuire.

MCPS says families can pick up breakfast and lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on school days. Families must bring an ID number or barcode for each student they are picking up for.

MCPS leaders and the Board of Education say they’re looking into more options for distribution, as an earlier pickup time for meals, bulk meal pickup, and utilizing school buses and stops to distribute food during the school year.

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