WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – With so many families struggling financially this year due to the pandemic, good news awaits Weber County students as they head back to school.

The Weber County School District has announced they will be providing school lunches at no cost to students this year.

The meals will be available every day and does not require any special application or requirement to be met.

Typically, to receive school lunches, a student’s household must meet income eligibility requirements and an application must be submitted.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), schools are allowed to waive the income requirement for 2021-2022 school year meals as the USDA will continue reimbursing schools.

During the past year and a half, K-12 school learning has been upended due to the pandemic. With schools closing and millions of children transitioning to virtual learning, an unintended consequence has been children losing access to a steady food source.

“Up to 12 million children are currently living in households where they may not always have enough to eat during the pandemic,” according to the USDA. “During the past year, America’s schools and childcare centers have provided a nutrition lifeline for children across the country, many of whom depend on USDA’s child nutrition programs for the nourishment they need to grow and thrive. Some kids rely on these programs for as many as three meals a day, underscoring how essential it is for USDA to empower schools and childcare centers to continue their dedicated efforts to serve healthy meals, safely.”

However, the Weber County School District will still be collecting and processing applications for free or reduced-price meals for the next school year.

County officials still recommend completing an application for next year to prevent gaps in food disbursement.

Eligibility requirements and applications for future free or reduced-price meals are available here.