On Thursday, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) gave schools throughout the state the go-ahead to keep serving free meals to students throughout the 2021-22 school year.
Following the extension of the USDA's Seamless Summer Option, which was traditionally only available during the summer, participating schools will continue to offer healthy meals at no charge to students, while also receiving a higher than normal reimbursement rate for each meal served.
“The pandemic brought many economic challenges to our families, so we are very happy that healthy meals will be available at no charge for all students throughout this critically important school year,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Many of our students rely on schools to meet their nutritional meals. Study after study shows that proper nutrition supports improved performance in school. We encourage school districts to participate to help fuel learning renewal this year.”
Illinois families should contact their local school to find out if they are participating in the Seamless Summer Option this school year or other federal school nutrition programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Special Milk Program. Local schools can also provide other details about their meal service.
The Seamless Summer Option is funded by the USDA and administered by ISBE.
More information about school nutrition programs can be found on the ISBE website.