The U.S. Department of Agriculture reopened the Summer Food Service Program through December, allowing schools across the country to offer free meals to students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Durango School District 9-R will offer free meals through December to all students.
Krista Garand, 9-R’s coordinator of nutrition services, said students attending in-person classes will have access to free hot lunches – usually they are delivered to classrooms in elementary and middle schools with staggered lunch periods at Durango High School.
Families with students using a remote learning model at home can order their free hot lunches online, Garand said. Families with students using remote learning models are asked to inform the Food and Nutrition Department via the online form so cafeterias will know how many meals to prepare daily.
Remote learning students will get a breakfast along with a hot lunch when they pick up their free meal.
The district soon will be listing the nutritional value of the daily meals on its website, Garand said.
Meals also will be provided for students learning remotely in Montezuma County.
“As our nation reopens and people return to work, it remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy and nutritious food,” USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a news release.
The Mancos School District is allowing parents and students to pick up meals daily from 11:30 a.m. to noon at the front office of the elementary school. Parents of remote students should email [email protected], according to the district’s Facebook page.
Montezuma-Cortez schools are still finalizing how to serve remote students, but most likely they will offer students a package of lunch and breakfast meals each week, said Melissa Brunner, director of finance for Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1.
“We would love for our kids to participate,” she said.
Every student is eligible and will receive free meals, but districts ask parents to fill out forms for free or reduced lunches.
Data collected in the forms help schools qualify for other kinds of support, such as funding for additional teachers or programs to support students learning English as a second language, Brunner said.
[email protected] Herald Staff Writer Patrick Armijo contributed to this report.