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COVID-19 waiver expires; MCS students must qualify for free, reduced-price meals

MADISON – When school resumes session for the 2022-2023 school year, all students will not be eligible for free breakfast and lunch.

“The USDA COVID-19 waiver that enabled school systems to provide free breakfast and lunch to everyone is expiring,” Madison City Schools Superintendent Dr. Ed Nichols announced in his District Update posts. “When school resumes in fall, MCS will return to a pay system.”

“Free and reduced meals will still be available upon completion of an application based on household income,” Nichols said. “The Free and Reduced applications will be available starting in July for the upcoming school year.”

The National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program provides funding for free and reduced-price meals for children. To qualify for the service, all student families must complete a new application each school year. A student’s eligibility status carries over from the previous year for the first 30 schooldays.

This procedure allows parents enough time to reapply for the new school year. Each household should submit only one application; the application must include everyone living in the house.

To access an application, visit paypams.com/OnlineApp.aspx or ask for an application at MCS Central Office, 211 Celtic Drive in Madison after July 1.

Families should allow 10 working days to process the application. They will receive a notification letter about eligibility status from the Child Nutrition office at the Central Office.

School officials may check a family’s eligibility at any time during the school year. Officials may ask parents or guardians to provide documentation to verify income.

A foster child living in a family’s home qualifies for free meals, regardless of the family’s income. Include all foster children on same application with other children in the household.

New students should bring money for meals until their application is processed and approved. If a student transfers from the Madison County School System, eligibility also transfers; a new application is not necessary.

All submitted income information is confidential. Computer accounts for the student look identical to cash-paying students; no one can determine any student’s status.

Nelson will update school families in his District Updates about the meal program.

In addition, individuals can visit the Child Nutrition web page. Visit madisoncity.k12.al.us. Click “Departments” in the listed menus, and then click “Child Nutrition.” From the list to the left, click “Free and Reduced Meals.” The link to this page is madisoncity.k12.al.us/Page/4199.

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