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Tucson Unified meal works on meal plan for the school year

Government program allows more students to get access to free meals
School lunch
Posted at 6:46 AM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 09:46:35-04

The Tucson Unified School District is gearing up for the new school year. Part of that process is making sure that students are fed with a plan in place. Tucson Unified Food Services Director Lindsay Aguilar says some planning is still needed but meals for students will be ready.

"We are still in our final planning phases, we’ve been waiting for guidance from the USDA and Department of Education. On August 10th we start instruction for our district we have to transition to the national school lunch and breakfast program,” Aguilar said.

The lunch lady will literally be on the bus serving up meals at bus stops and so far staffing levels in the department are the same. The district is also shifting from the program that started back in March.

"We will offer meals in a grab and go format. Most likely via the bus route like we have been,” Aguilar said.

Before the pandemic, the district served over 35,000 meals a day. Meanwhile, Aguilar says this year more kids will have access to free meals.

60 out of the districts 89 schools were approved for a special food program compared to 36 last school year. Kids at the other 29 schools will still have to qualify for free and reduced meals. Aguilar says based on data they’ve received, the number of students getting SNAP benefits from the government is up by 7 percent.

“The great news for our district is we have 60 schools this year that can operate the community operation provision of the national school lunch program. Which means we can offer free meals to students at those 60 schools,” Aguilar said.

During the shutdown, only 8,000 kids received prepackaged meals and over the summer that number dropped to 4,000. The district is hoping to get those numbers back to normal prepandemic levels.

As for the menu, right now homemade meals are out.

"A lot of the products are student favorites we’ve been able to keep serving burritos, corn dogs and burger sliders,” Aguilar said.

Parents can still pick up meals at designated stops if needed.

Right now there are nearly 45,000 students enrolled in the district. And the meal prices are the same as last year.

“It's a different environment but we will be out there serving our community and our students,” Aguilar said.

Tucson Unified School District..
Tanque Verde School District..

Altar Valley Schools..Starting on August 6, we will provide breakfast and lunch from 7:00 – 8:00 AM at the following locations:

1. Taylor Lane bus stop

2. Sierrita Mountain Rd at the Speedway Store

3. Robles Elementary School

Flowing Wells Schools..
Flowing Wells will be open and serving breakfasts and lunches on a grab-and-go basis. Distribution times will be defined by each school and shared with families.