The Fox C-6 School District received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that allows the district to offer free breakfasts and lunches to all students, whether they attend in-person classes or learn at home online.
Through the program, which runs through Dec. 31 or until funding runs out, free meals are available to all children who are 18 or younger, regardless of their family’s income.
Those free meals are available to all Fox students, as well as to any child who lives in the district, even those who attend private schools or other districts.
The Fox district began school this year on Aug. 27 with about 80 percent of its 11,163 students enrolled in a hybrid schedule that has about half of the students attending in person on Mondays and Tuesdays and the other half on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday is an all virtual learning day.
About 20 percent of Fox students are enrolled in the district’s Virtual Academy, which means they do all their learning online at home.
Meals are provided to every student who attends school in person, and for those students who do not attend class in person or for those not enrolled in the Fox district, meals may be picked up between 9-10 a.m. at any Fox school. Parents wishing to pick up meals are asked to fill out a registration form that can be found at fox.k12.mo.us/departments/nutrition_services.
Fox school officials learned about the waiver Sept. 4 and started offering the free meals Sept. 8, said Gail Jones, the district’s director of nutrition services.
Jones said the district served a total of about 2,000 breakfasts and 4,000 lunches during the first four days of the program. She said those meals were served to students attending classes in person and those picking up the meals.
“I expect those numbers to increase with the increased notification to parents regarding the free meals,” Jones said.
She said the district qualified for the waiver because of the high rate of positive COVID-19 tests in Jefferson County and because the county’s unemployment rate was greater than 10 percent in July.
Fox also received a USDA waiver to provide meals to children in its district at the end of last school year when school buildings were closed in mid-March because of the pandemic.
Jones said from March 23 to June 30, Fox provided 29,560 breakfasts and 29,560 lunches.