For Immediate Release
Thursday, September 9, 2021

Schools can continue to serve meals at no charge to students in the 2021-22 school year

​ISBE announces availability of Seamless Summer Option Program 

​SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today that schools can continue to serve meals at no charge to all students throughout the 2021-22 school year. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the availability of the Seamless Summer Option, which is traditionally only available during the summer. Participating schools will offer healthy meals at no charge to all their students and will receive a higher than normal reimbursement rate per meal served.

“The pandemic brought many economic challenges to our families, so we are very happy that healthy meals will be available at no charge for all students throughout this critically important school year," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Many of our students rely on schools to meet their nutritional meals. Study after study shows that proper nutrition supports improved performance in school. We encourage school districts to participate to help fuel learning renewal this year."

The Seamless Summer Option is funded by USDA and administered by ISBE.

Families should contact their local school to find out if they are participating in the Seamless Summer Option this school year or other federal school nutrition programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Special Milk Program. Local schools can also provide other details about their meal service.

Seamless Summer Option meals are a healthy, balanced selection of grains, vegetables, milk, fruits, and protein foods. The MyPlate Guide to School Lunch and MyPlate Guide to School Breakfast highlights how a variety of healthy foods are part of the meals.

More information about school nutrition programs can be found on the ISBE website.

Non-Discrimination Statement

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
  2. Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  3. Email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.