By Zach Armstrong
PRINCE GEORGE, Va -- The Summer Meals Program at Prince George County Public Schools will continue through the end of the 2020 calendar year following action by the United States Department of Agriculture late last month that extended several flexibilities to program operators.
PGCPS will be able to serve both breakfast and lunch free of charge for children 18 years of age and younger at all of the district’s schools through Dec. 31 under these nationwide waivers.
“As our county joins the rest of the nation in reopening and returning to work and school, it remains vitally important that the children in our community continue to receive healthy and nutritious meals,” PGCPS Division Superintendent Dr. Lisa Pennycuff said in a press release. “We are pleased by the USDA’s actions that will allow us to extend our Summer Meals Program into the fall.”
Elementary students will be provided meals at stations in their school’s hallway for students to “Grab-N-Go” to take back to their classrooms. Friday’s meals will be given to children on Thursday afternoon to take home for the following day.
Secondary students will continue to be served meals through their school’s serving and snack line along with additional physical distancing measures put in place for contactless transactions. Items will be provided to students at the cashier and pin pads will be electronic.
Beginning Sept. 18, families of 100% Virtual-Remote Learning students will be provided breakfast and lunch meals by PGCPS Food and Nutrition Services. Children do not have to attend a Prince George County Public School and must be under the age of 18 to qualify.
Families must sign up via the 100% Virtual Learner Meal Pick-Up Form by the Wednesday prior to the Friday pick-up to participate. Participants must select the school closest to them to pick up their meals so the correct amount of meals are served to students. A “Grab-N-Go” service will be provided at school cafeterias on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m on a first come, first served basis.
The USDA extended several flexibilities through Dec. 31 to help ensure children have access to nutritious food as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic regardless of what the situation is for their district.
Others nationwide waivers extended by the USDA due to the pandemic include permitting meals to be served outside of the typically-required group settings and meal times, waiving meal pattern requirements as necessary and allowing parents and guardians to pick-up meals for their children.
The 100% Virtual Learner Meal Pick-Up Form is available on the district’s website and PGCPS Food and Nutrition Services’ website.