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Unified School District No. 290- Ottawa
July 14, 2021

Free school meals available for all students during 2021-2022 school year

(Ottawa U.S.D. No. 290) — The National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer
Option (SSO) waiver allows all Kansas students the option of free breakfast and lunch
each school day during the 2021-2022 school year – ensuring students are fueled and
ready to learn.

The waiver allows the SSO to operate when school is open during the regular school
year – through June 30, 2022. It is a continuation of a commitment to provide safe,
healthy meals free of charge to children as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to
threaten food and nutrition security of the most vulnerable – our students, according
to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The waiver also will help schools continue to plan for a safe opening in the fall. For
example, it will eliminate the need to collect meal payments. This speeds up the service
of meals, which reduces contact and potential exposure to COVID-19.
The USDA’s National School Lunch Program SSO is typically only available during the
summer months. However, extending it allows for a strong emphasis on providing
fruits and vegetables, milk and whole grains while allowing schools to serve the meals
for free. Schools that choose the SSO option will receive higher-than-normal meal
reimbursements for every meal they serve, which will support them in serving the most
nutritious meals possible while managing increased costs associated with operational
and supply chain challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The USDA covers the cost of the meals for all students. There is no need for families to
fill out an application.