Free Meals Continue Pending Recent Changes in Federal and State Guidelines
All meals provided to St. Charles students whose families have signed up to participate in the School Shutdown Meal Program regardless of their free/reduced lunch status from March 18-31 are free.
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has indicated that as of April 1st, school districts with fewer than 50% of enrolled students qualifying for free and reduced price lunch can continue to offer free reimbursable meals to all students ages 18 and under from their pick-up sites, but that meals delivered to students who do not qualify for free and reduced price lunch are no longer reimbursable.
MDE has recently applied for a Federal waiver that if approved would allow for school districts like St. Charles to continue to provide free delivered meals to students who qualify for free and reduced price lunch and to students who do not. The status of MDE’s recent application is pending.
What does this mean for St. Charles?
At this time, we can guarantee free meals for any student ages 18 and under regardless of their free and reduced price lunch status through April 30th, if families elect to pick their meals up from the Elementary School.
We can continue to deliver free meals through April 30th, to students whose families qualify for Free and Reduced Price Lunch.
Pending the outcome of MDE’s recent waiver application, we can continue to deliver meals to students of families who do not qualify for free and reduced price lunch, but can’t guarantee that the meals delivered to these students will be free.
Meals delivered from April 1 through April 30, to students whose families do not qualify for free and reduced price lunch may end up being charged for meals delivered to them during this period. If we have to end up charging for these meals, charges will not be assessed until the Distance Learning Period expires.
Families participating in the program who do not qualify for free and reduced price lunch and who elected to have meals delivered can either choose to keep their status the same (taking a risk that they may be charged for the meals if MDE’s waiver doesn’t go through), or they can choose to change their meal delivery status from delivery to pick up (guaranteeing free meals from April 1 through April 30). If you want to change your status, please contact the Elementary School at 507-932-4910 or 507-932-4420.
Families that have had a change in their financial status are welcome to apply for free/reduced lunches. If you qualify, student meals will be free regardless if you pick them up at our pick-up site or request to have them delivered during the Distance Learning Period.
The current Distance Learning Period is scheduled to run through April 30th, and we are anticipating that students will have the opportunity to return to our buildings on May 5th. When the Distance Learning Period expires, our schools will go back to providing meals through our regular breakfast and lunch program. Students qualifying for free/reduced lunches will continue to receive free meals through our regular lunch program. Students who don’t qualify will have their meals charged to their student lunch accounts. Families can apply for free/reduced lunch at any time. Click here to download the application.