Many Bloomington-Normal kids will no longer get the free school meals they’ve been getting since the start of the pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave each school district waivers to put all students on the free meal plan at the start of the pandemic, including during the summer. But as schools reopen, many of them virtually, the federal agency reversed course and now has schools charging those families that typically pay the reduced or full price, based on financial need.
District 87’s Director of School Nutrition Caroline Bubulka said she has written Congress asking the USDA to reconsider.
“Many families have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bubulka said. “A lot of them are in different job situations. They may not have the income that they previously had.”
Unit 5 Director of Food Services Joanna Rewerts said tracking those charges for each family is a challenge, especially since the district is doing meal pickups and deliveries during remote learning.