Free/Reduced school lunch applications ready as school year starts

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FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. — With the academic year officially underway, Fannin County students are returning to school with a new change in the cafeteria. A pandemic-era benefit that provided free school lunch to all students has expired after Congress did not extend it for another school year.

The change has led many school districts to focus on expanding awareness and accessibility to free/reduced lunch applications to students and families alike. In an email with FYN, Fannin County School System’s Director of Nutrition and Wellness Martha Williams shared some information regarding the change. “The waiver to provide meals at no cost has expired,” she wrote, “to continue receiving meals at a free or reduced rate, parents/guardians will need to complete an application.”

Williams also included a link that gives online accessibility to the application. However, Fannin County is not the only school district in the area that has worked to expand accessibility with an online option. The Pickens County Board of Education, and other school staff, recently stressed their work to do the same during a board of education meeting this summer.

For families or students that prefer a physical option, Williams explained that all students would receive a printed copy in their beginning of the year packet, which also includes a link to the online option. She also told FYN that both the district and school’s nutrition staff would be able to assist families in completing their applications.

While some school systems will begin charging for breakfast again, Williams emphasized that all Fannin County Schools will provide free breakfast to enrolled students. Lunch, however, will come at different prices depending on the school each student attends. Elementary school students can purchase lunch for $2.35, while middle and high school students’ lunch will cost $2.60. Adults will also be able to purchase lunch at the price of $4.55

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