Auburn City Schools announced on Tuesday that it would provide free meals for breakfast and lunch to all students, whether learning traditionally or remotely.
The move comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently relaxed its rules and will fund free meals for all students through Dec. 31.
"Last week, Auburn City Schools received confirmation of an approved waiver by the USDA that will allow us to provide a free breakfast and free lunch to all students in school, both traditional and remote," said ACS Superintendent Cristen Herring, who added that ACS' director of child nutrition, Dr. Ashley Powell, is working with cafeteria managers to determine how the school system can provide the meals to remote learners.
ACS also launched a survey this week of remote-learning parents to gauge interest in participating.
À la carte items are not part of the waiver, but will still be available for purchase. "It is only the meal that can be received as a free meal for breakfast or lunch."
The ACS Board of Education passed its Fiscal Year 2021 budget on Tuesday night, as well as heard from a number of parents of remote learners who became emotional as they described how far their children are falling behind because of a lack of textbooks for some remote learners in high school.
"My child, and the other children that I know, are getting to the point in that course where their grade is going to suffer, and they're excellent students," said Tina Hooks, whose child is taking a course remotely. Hooks added that the option to extend the course for the entire year is not appealing. "The option isn't sufficient to me, so I really wonder if our patience that we have exercised as remote parents — and I believe you're hearing from us ... and we are not hearing from you."