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Picture of raised hands to imply frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is everyone eating free again this year?

A: Yes! All students are eligible to receive one breakfast and one lunch at no cost this year (School Year 2023-2024).

Q: How is this possible since the Federal Waivers have ended?

A: Greene County Public Schools has been approved division-wide (all schools) to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program. 

Q: What is considered a meal?

A: For breakfast, a full meal is considered three out of the four or more food items and one must be a serving of fruit (which may be juice). The four items offered for breakfast are generally one entree, milk, fruit, and fruit juice. For lunch, a full, balanced meal is considered to be composed of at least three of the five food components offered, with at least one being a fruit or vegetable. Nutrition staff will help your students build a complete meal.

Q: What are the five food components offered at lunch?

A: Meat/meat alternatives, grains, fruits, vegetables, and milk.

Q: My student is in kindergarten. Can't you just give them everything so they don't have to choose?

A: In short: no. All of our schools operate the Offer vs. Serve (OVS) principle during both breakfast and lunch. The goal of OVS is to allow students autonomy in choosing what they want to eat as well as limiting waste by allowing students to only take what they want. If staff are giving all students every item without asking the student, that is no longer OVS. OVS is optional at all levels except high school; however, at this time, all of GCPS schools do utilize OVS. Inquire at your student's school as some schools may not offer OVS for kindergarten. The above regulations on what constitutes a complete free meal is federally regulated, and the nutrition staff will do their best to educate both students and teachers.

Q: Can my student just get a free milk?

A: No. While all students are eating for free this year, there are still some regulations we must follow. For a student to receive a free meal, they must take three of the five food components offered (with one being a fruit or vegetable), as mentioned above. Extra milk may be purchased a la carte.

Q: What if my student packs lunch and just wants milk?

A: That is still possible! However, as mentioned above, your student must take a fruit and a vegetable (or an entree and fruit or vegetable) in addition to the milk in order to qualify it as a free meal. Otherwise, milk may be purchased a la carte.

Q: Will my student(s) be able to get extras or second meals?

A: Possibly! This is dependent on a school-to-school basis. Some schools will be offering a la carte items and/or extra entrees or sides. Your student may only participate in these extras if there is money on their account or if cash/check is provided at the time of sale. Students may not charge for a la carte or extra items. Please contact your school's nutrition manager for more specific questions.

Q: If everyone is eating for free, why do my students have to put their student ID number at the end of the line?

A: Students are asked to enter their student numbers at some schools for a couple of reasons. This can be done to reacclimate students to what a "normal" school lunch looks like. It is also to help the kitchen staff keep a record of the number of meals served for reporting and future production purposes. This process also helps us to ensure that all students receive one complete meal and do not try and come through the line a second time if unable to purchase a second meal. It can also be beneficial in alerting the kitchen staff to any allergies listed for a specific student. Finally, at schools where students may buy a la carte or extra items, the student number is to pull up that student's account to access their specific profile so they may purchase items if funds are available without having to use cash. 

Q: Why does the menu say one thing and something else is being offered?

A: Years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still feeling the after effects. Sometimes our vendors do not have the product that we need to produce the intended meals, and we are constantly navigating supply shortages. As a result, items may change with little-to-no notice, but there will always be a full, balanced meal offered to your student. 

Q: My student has a food allergy and cannot eat most things on the menu but still wants to participate in school meals. Is that possible?

A: Yes! For food allergies, your student's school must have documentation on file with the school nurse of this allergy. Documentation must include a diet prescription or medical note from the child's physician, specialist, or other medical professional. This must include information about the allergy/disease, explanation of the accommodations needed, foods to be omitted, modified, or substituted, and the signature of that medical professional. You can also find a fillable form here: Dietary Modification Medical Statement. This documentation must be returned to the school nurse, school cafeteria staff, or SNP Director. From there, the SNP Director will work with you and your student to accommodate special dietary needs. 

Q: How do I add money to my student's account?

A: Please visit MySchoolBucks Online Meal Payment. Your student may also bring in cash or a check to give to the cafeteria staff to put on the student's account.

Q: Since everyone is eating for free this year, do I still need to fill out an application for Free and Reduced Meals?

A: No. Since GCPS is participating in CEP, we are not accepting any Free and Reduced Meal applications. 

Q: What if I need proof of receiving free meals for outside programs such as YMCA, community sports programs, child care, college applications, SATs, etc.?

A: GCPS is not accepting Free/Reduced Meal applications. Most outside programs will accept the fact that a student is attending a CEP school as sufficient evidence. Please provide the letter to households that each family should have received. If this is not accepted, such as in some college applications, please contact the school nutrition office at 434-939-9096.

Q: My student moved or graduated but still had money on the MySchoolBucks account. Can I get a refund?

A: Yes! You may also transfer the funds to another student if desired. Please contact us at 434-939-9096.

Q: I am a teacher. Since the students are eating for free, do I get to eat for free too?

A: Unfortunately, no. GCPS' participation in CEP is only applicable to students. Adults may purchase a full meal at the price listed on the menus/website, or they may purchase items a la carte. Please contact your school nutrition manager with any further questions or if you need an account.