Free meals will continue to be offered to Frederick County Public Schools students as the school system transitions next week into a hybrid learning model.

Due to a federal waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, FCPS will be able to continue offering breakfast, lunch and supper to all students free of charge until June 30, said Robert Kelly, senior manager of Food and Nutrition Services for FCPS.

For students attending school in person under the hybrid model, there will be grab-and-go breakfasts available each morning, and lunch will be hot meals that are prepared in the school kitchen and then individually packed in containers and delivered to students either in the classroom or served directly to them in the serving line of the cafeteria.

How students receive meals and where they eat their meals will differ school to school, Kelly said. If students are eating lunch in their classrooms, they will be able to choose menu items and order ahead of time through their teachers. Students are also still allowed to bring their own packed lunches.

Kelly encouraged parents to contact their child’s school or the food and nutrition services department to get detailed information on the delivery methods and options available at their school.

To keep cafeteria workers and students safe, Kelly said staff has participated in detailed online trainings. The school system is also providing masks to food staff, and serving lines and kitchen equipment will be thoroughly cleaned between meals, Kelly said.

“We’re all going to get through this, and I know there will be some tweaking along the way,” Kelly said. “Everybody is just working together as a team…it’s going to be great, and we can’t wait to see the kids’ faces.”

Kelly added that all employees who were furloughed in the fall returned to work in January and that the department has openings for additional help.

Free meals will continue to be available for pickup for students in virtual learning as well, Kelly said. There are 23 schools across the county that will offer the pick-up services: Ballenger Creek Elementary, Brunswick Elementary, Butterfly Ridge Elementary, Centerville Elementary, Deer Crossing Elementary, Emmitsburg Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Liberty Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Monocacy Elementary, Myersville Elementary, New Market Elementary, Oakdale Elementary, Spring Ridge Elementary, Sugarloaf Elementary, Twin Ridge Elementary, Waverley Elementary, Whittier Elementary, Thurmont Middle, Windsor Knolls Middle, Gov. Thomas Johnson High, Middletown High and Walkersville High.

Children do not have to be present for adults to pick up meals, and children do not have to attend the schools from which they are picking up meals.

The meals will be available on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting Feb. 17.

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