With that, we would like to announce to patrons some exciting news regarding the meal program at all district schools. For the 2021-22 school year, the Willow Springs School District will be participating in the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option (SSO) that is authorized by the National School Lunch Act.
The Seamless Summer Option allows all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches during summer school. However, due to the public health emergency that we are facing with Covid-19, the Food and Nutrition Service has established a waiver that will allow the Seamless Summer Option to extend during the 2021-22 school year. This means that all students will be able to eat free, nutritious breakfasts and lunches at school during the 2021-22 school year and summer school through June 30, 2022. This waiver is intended to benefit all students, most especially those living in rural, low income communities, by giving them access to nutritious meals in a safe and efficient meal service environment.
Even though all Willow Springs students will be able to eat free meals this year, it will be part of the enrollment requirement that all families complete a free and reduced meal application whether or not they believe they will qualify. The reason for this is that the higher the school district’s free and reduced lunch percentage among our students, and the more students who meet this eligibility, the more state funding is received for our school district as a low income school district. The school district directly benefits when every family who qualifies is counted. This will provide more funds for such items as learning resources, building supplies, textbooks and transportation costs.
Free and Reduced lunch applications will be distributed to parents at the back to school nights before school begins. The first day of school will be Monday, August 23, 2021. We look forward to seeing all of our students back!