Free Lunches Due To Pandemic Are No Longer In Effect At Frederick County Public Schools

Federal legislators did not renew a bill that provided free meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frederick, Md. (NS) – Student meals at Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) will no longer be free of charge for this coming school year.

Students at FCPS once again must pay for their school meals after federal legislators did not renew the Universal School Meals Program Act, which provided free meals to students across the country for two years during the coronavirus pandemic.

Robert Kelly, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for FCPS, said more students ate school meals during COVID.

“Pre-pandemic, we were serving approximately 20,000 – 21,000 meals a day. During the pandemic, we were serving approximately 30,000 meals a day,” explained Kelly.

He said now elementary students will be charged $1.60 for breakfast and $2.65 for lunch, and middle and high school students will pay $1.85 for breakfast and $2.90 for lunch, but financial assistance is still available.

“Our meal benefit applications are available online for parents to fill out electronically. So, a parent can find out where they fall within the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) guidelines,” said Kelly.

FCPS says the State of Maryland is covering the cost indefinitely of meals for students who qualify for reduced-price meals.