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RCPS returns to free meals program after USDA grants flexibility
Posted on 09/08/2020
Be Bright Eat Right Rockdale logoSeptember 8, 2020

Conyers, Ga.
–  Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS) has returned to its free meals program for children ages 18 and under after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave states and school systems the flexibility to implement the summer meals program model through December 31, 2020.  

“Our meal program operates in full compliance with federal and state guidelines,” said RCPS Executive Director of School Nutrition Peggy Lawrence. “We began the school year only being allowed to feed our enrolled students and charging regular meal prices as we normally do each school year. We were thrilled to hear the announcement from USDA last week which allows us to shift our school meal program back to being a community feeding program. We are thankful for this flexibility and will continue to support all children in Rockdale County through our breakfast and lunch meal service.”

RCPS Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts said, “We are proud of the tremendous work by our school nutrition and transportation personnel to feed our students. This summer they delivered more than 600,000 meals to children in Rockdale County. Our community is much like those across the nation – in need of additional support as we continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The flexibility granted through the USDA will allow us to continue our free mobile meal service and reduce some anxiety and stress for our families.”  

“As our nation reopens and people return to work, it remains critical our children continue to receive safe, healthy, and nutritious food,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, USDA has provided an unprecedented amount of flexibilities to help schools feed kids through the school meal programs, and today, we are also extending summer meal program flexibilities for as long as we can, legally and financially.  We appreciate the incredible efforts by our school foodservice professionals year in and year out, but this year we have an unprecedented situation. This extension of summer program authority will employ summer program sponsors to ensure meals are reaching all children – whether they are learning in the classroom or virtually – so they are fed and ready to learn, even in new and ever-changing learning environments.”

The USDA granted the flexibility through December 31, 2020 at which time school systems must return to regular school meal programs.  Parents and guardians who normally apply for free and reduced meals each school year should still submit their application now to be eligible for second semester.  Applications can be found online at or a paper copy can be obtained through the school front office.  

For more information on RCPS meal delivery locations and schedules, visit